Accion Venture Lab recently teamed with Village Capital and the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth to launch its first-ever business accelerator. Its goal was clear: to find and assemble the 12 best early-stage fintech companies in Mexico, and help them take the leap from betas to scalable businesses. Jackie Hyland discusses lessons learned from the experience in this post.
Weekly Roundup: Natural Born Entrepreneurs: Why veterans make great businesspeople – and how the U.S. could help them succeed
As the U.S. salutes its veterans this Memorial Day, one of their under-appreciated contributions to the country is drawing increasing attention: their affinity for entrepreneurship. We discuss the reasons behind this phenomenon and the ways the public and private sectors are supporting it, in this roundup.
NexThought Monday: Is Faster Necessarily Better?: As India’s financial inclusion initiatives race forward, questions linger about its microfinance-focused MUDRA
The pace of recent financial inclusion initiatives in India has been supersonic. Since August of last year, banks have opened 147 million new accounts, thanks largely to government programs. But while this progress is exciting, there are a number of unanswered questions about the real impact of these initiatives, including the new microfinance refinancer/regulator MUDRA.
- Financial Inclusion
The Power of Social Underwriting: Kiva Zip, on why it pays for lenders to tap the wisdom of the crowd
Social underwriting, ie: assessing borrowers’ creditworthiness by tapping into their existing trust networks, is a time-honored principle in community banking. And it’s increasingly being combined with digital tools to expand access to capital for borrowers that conventional lenders might reject as too risky or unprofitable. Kiva Zip’s senior director describes four ways they are implementing the approach.
NexThought Monday – The (Financial) Wisdom of the Crowd: How a group of non-experts outperformed traditional credit ratings at identifying good and bad borrowers
Determining risk has always been a hurdle for lenders, and a barrier for small businesses looking to expand. Non-traditional credit scoring could help - but is it dependable? A new Harvard study on a crowdsourced credit scoring approach found it predicted defaults with 45 percent greater accuracy than standard credit scores.
The inability to access capital is a frequent obstacle for would-be entrepreneurs in the developing world. But most of the energy spent on solving this problem is currently focused on the financial industry, or the supply side. Instead, we should focus more attention on the demand side of funding – working with entrepreneurs, argues Juan Carlos Thomas of TechnoServe.
Serving SMEs in a Tough Neighborhood: Part two of our Q&A with the CEO and Managing Director of the Middle East Investment Initiative
The Middle East Investment Initiative is a U.S.-based non-profit whose mission is to develop innovative finance tools for SMEs in the Middle East and North Africa, including the Palestinian Territories. Its CEO and Managing Director discuss the challenges it faces - from attitudes toward women to political instability - working in this volatile region.
Peace Through Finance?: How the Middle East Investment Initiative uses financial tools to help a troubled region
It often seems like a unique set of religious and tribal conflicts are responsible for the Middle East’s problems. But they’re also driven in part by a more universal concern: a weak economy. That’s why the Middle East Investment Initiative is delivering finance and technical assistance that stimulate sustainable economic growth in the region. We discuss this approach with the organization’s CEO and Managing Director in part 1 of this Q&A.