Identifying this issue, recently Aflore from Colombia took away top honors at the FinTech Innovation Challenge, sponsored by the NYC-based organization dedicated to ending economic gender disparities. Specifically, Women’s World Banking offers micro-loans to women-led economic initiatives from around the world.
Running from October 22 to 23 in Singapore, both Aflore and PULA Advisors from Kenya came out victorious after pitching to a panel of judges.
By taking first place, not only did these startups earn one-year membership at Women’s World Banking, but also valuable exposure to potential investors. All the while, they became finalists in another related event, the Global FinTech Hackcelerator Demo Day.
This competition will take place on November 11 as part of the Singapore FinTech Festival. Ultimately, the top three finalists of this upcoming event will receive a cash prize of SGD$50,000 (approximately US$37,000).
Another perk? Aflore is on-track to obtain a Proof-of-Concept grant worth SGD$200,000 (around US$147,000). The Monetary Authority of Singapore distributes these grants to groups developing innovative technology for the finance sector.
Facilitating credit access
Some of you may be wondering, what was Aflore’s proposal that gave them the win? Simply put, a consumer-friendly solution built around trust and transparency.
For many, receiving a loan can be tough, not to mention confusing. From “reading between the lines” to complex legal clauses, people often struggle to receive additional funds when they need them most. On top of that, some tend to be rather skeptical of traditional financial institutions, not trusting the terms and agreements.
Whether a loan is necessary for opening a business or covering an unexpected expense, it can be quite daunting. That’s where Aflore comes in.
In the promotion of financial inclusion, this fintech assesses and selects Consultants, also known as “consejeros” in Spanish, to create direct sales channels in Colombian communities. Essentially, these individuals are “model citizens of good financial behavior” who work as on-the-ground Aflore representatives.
If selected, the Consultants must first learn how to navigate the Aflore platform. From there, they utilize their own networks of both friends and family to start offering Aflore’s credit line.
A person interested in requesting credit from Aflore will submit their application through the Consultant’s app. In exchange for these services, Consultants benefit with an incentive-based plan. In other words, they earn digital coins, also known as “Florines,” that are exchangeable for money or other prizes.
Thanks to this informal network of credit loans, not only do consumers get the services they need, but trust towards formal financial institutions also grows.