Today more than a million people will come online for the first time. These people are largely from emerging markets, and increasingly from rural areas. Some may speak multiple languages but struggle to read or type. A million people have first experienced the digital world through their phones. The digital economy brings together people from different walks of life through the use of technology in order to achieve efficient cash flow in the economy.
For someone new to it, technology can be exciting… and intimidating. Internet access opens the door to a world of possibility. But before you can enter, there’s a lot you need to know: How to navigate from screen to screen. What’s tappable and what’s not. What all those strange icons mean. How to find search results in a language you can read. How to stay safe. How to even begin.
In emerging markets all over the world, there are millions of mobile money and banking agents who help people in their community access the digital economy on a daily basis. Whether it’s by converting money between digital currencies and cash or assisting with online purchases, these people serve as financial services access points, onboarding billions of people who are left behind by the formal financial sector.
Yet most mobile money & banking agent business models face a challenge in viably serving rural customers, creating a last mile agent coverage gap. Even when they can serve last mile customers, today’s digital financial services aren’t designed for new internet users, making it difficult for billions of people to participate in the burgeoning digital economy.
The Last Mile Money Accelerator is a global collaborative network focused on bringing the promise of the digital economy closer to the people who need it the most. We design and deliver solutions that allow low-income people to use a broader range of financial services as tools to build their resilience and capture opportunities.
The Last Mile Money Accelerator is looking for startups in Africa and South Asia who are innovating around Cash-In/Cash-Out challenges. As a startup, you might be building solutions that:
Particular consideration will be given to startups addressing the financial needs of low-income, rural women.
The Last Mile Money is a global collaborative network focused on connecting underserved communities to the digital economy. They do this through building digital confidence- Mobile apps that involve money can feel inaccessible, overwhelming, or confusing to people new to digital; Digitizing Commerce- Last-mile commerce is mostly informal and cash-based, limiting earning and buying opportunities and Increasing Agent Income- Agent business viability will drive the increased reach of digital financial services into the last mile.
The Last Mile Money Accelerator prototypes, pilots, and invests in new ventures alongside a global network of businesses, NGOs, philanthropies, and governments.