Using Technology and Innovation for Impact
There is a need to reimagine product design beyond “one size fits all” and experiment with new business models.
Nothing inspires innovation like competition. So MetLife Foundation teamed up with Verb, a company that specializes in social innovation, to develop a competition that brings together entrepreneurs and MetLife associates across four regions. The program launched in Ireland, China, and India, with more than 250 social ventures competing and 240 MetLife associates volunteering nearly 1,000 collective hours as mentors and judges.
The entries were diverse, ranging from artificial intelligence chatbots, to insuretech startups, and even programs leveraging satellite technology. In year one, Inclusion Plus awarded grants to 10 organizations pioneering new approaches to financial inclusion. Ireland’s winner, GRID Finance, is a small business capital platform where people can lend as little as five euro to local businesses, earning a return on their investment. China’s winner, Yibao Plan, partners with insurance companies to provide tailored insurance products to nonprofit associates and low-income individuals. In year two, final winners will be announced in India, and Inclusion Plus will move to Mexico and Egypt, eventually expanding to 10 countries and providing more than USD 600,000 in grants over the life of the initiative.
Achieving the Dream/ Working Students Success
Network Community colleges have historically been an important element of low-income Americans’ upward mobility. Working adults, recent immigrants, and parents rely on community colleges for education beyond high school, but financial pressures keep many from completing their degrees. MetLife Foundation supports “Achieving the Dream,” which is bringing innovative financial products and approaches into community colleges. Technology, integration of services into job training, financial coaching, and tailored financial products are increasing students’ financial health and the likelihood that they will complete their studies. Along with Achieving the Dream, we partner with large individual community colleges (for example, LaGuardia Community College in New York), with other networks such as the Center for Community College Student Engagement, and with researchers who focus on those students’ needs.
BANGLADESH and VIETNAM
Digital financial services hold the key to moving mass-market financial services beyond “one size fits all” and to improving low-income customers’ financial health. MetLife Foundation grantee MicroSave is a world leader in digital financial services and is supporting the digital transformation of two leading financial institutions, IDF (Bangladesh) and Co-Op Bank (Vietnam). MicroSave’s support includes comprehensive strategic planning, developing new products, and deploying the right digital platforms. Over the two-year course of the project, more than 140,000 customers will begin transacting digitally. At scale, the institutions will be able to serve two million customers with the financial services they need to navigate life’s opportunities and challenges.
Review the complete Technology and Innovation for Impact summary via the MetLife Foundation Annual Report 2016