60 Village Capital is supporting entrepreneurs in all four markets—Poland, Turkey, UAE and Ukraine—based on their potential. Village Capital is a venture capital firm focused on working with entrepreneurs who have the potential to solve real-world problems, whether environmental, social, or a combination. Then we support them with the resources they need to refine their innovations and take them to scale. We’ve supported more than 500 entrepreneurs in a dozen countries, and we’ve learned that entrepreneurs need money, sure, but that’s not all they need. Before they can even think about funding, start-ups need the support of an ecosystem. Think again about Silicon Valley. Decades before the hoodie-clad geniuses showed up, the Valley was research labs scattered among apple orchards. Silicon Valley didn’t become great because of its early inventions, ranging from the semiconductor to the microprocessor, but because its innovators built an ecosystem, not just specific firms. The talent in Silicon Valley grew exponentially, each innovator and engineer recruiting the next. The Valley is also embedded in a larger society with a sophisticated financial sector and governed by the rule of law, including intellectual property right protections. This kind of ecosystem—the thousands of factors, some obvious, others invisible, that converge to make innovation possible—is so important that it’s easy to take for granted. Silicon Valley succeeded because generations invested in the ecosystem, not just specific ideas. Village Capital, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, is making a similar investment in fintech ecosystems in these nascent markets. Fintech, or technology solutions to improve financial services, holds great promise to solve a problem that both Village Capital and the foundation care about deeply: financial health. Millions of people in low- and middle-income countries lack basic financial services, and even in high-income countries, financial stress is a major issue: One well-known recent survey found that almost half of all U.S. adults said that they would have a hard time covering a $400 emergency. Fintech solutions like mobile money and financial coaching have already helped populations globally access the financial system and manage their savings. Fintech is a relatively young field whose breakthrough potential to expand financial health has only begun to be tapped. The Village Capital/MetLife Foundation partnership will nurture the kinds of partnerships that fintech innovations need in order to scale. Bankers and tech entrepreneurs operate in different worlds; bridging those cultures can be difficult. We’ll also enable intermediaries to convene important stakeholders around the new companies to help them navigate regulations, build relationships with investors and find the right key staffers. Village Capital and MetLife Foundation are identifying barriers to scale and designing solutions, building a roadmap for future innovations with the end goal— financial health at large scale—always in mind. As our work progresses in Poland, Turkey, the UAE and Ukraine, we plan to showcase the top innovations locally and internationally.Allfourmarketshaveuniquecharacteristics that make them high-potential start-up hubs. All four, we are confident, will have world-class examples to share. Financial health, a key focus area for Village Capital, is also the five-year strategic focus of MetLife Foundation, Village Capital’s partner on the Financial Health Forums project. MetLife Foundation is devoting U.S. $200 million to financial health via grant-making all over the world.  View the original article on NextBillion