THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) challenged financial technology start-ups working in the Philippines to go beyond providing payment solutions by focusing on the needs of those in the supply chains to boost micro, small and medium enterprises in the country.
Pia Bernadette Roman-Tayag, BSP managing director of Center for Learning and Inclusion Advocacy, said on Wednesday that majority of those in the financial technology space are occupied by those providing payment solutions and some in digital lending.
“I really want to see fintechs that can solve the connection of supply chains, providing the financial services that those supply chains need, so ability to save different types of credit ‘yung talagang fit for the needs of those in the supply chain to really unlock the potential naman of our MSMEs, so that’s a wish,” Roman-Tayag told reporters in an interview on the sidelines of the ING-Unicef Fintech for Impact media launch.
Roman-Tayag said she also wants “transformative” solutions that are not only making current things easier but also solving real issues to make access to financial services
translate to economic growth.
“Financial inclusion is not the objective; just getting that—included—is not the objective, it’s really that we are able to access financial services for our good, for us to achieve our financial objectives toward improving the quality of our lives for small businesses to be able to use financing for it to grow and generate jobs, but for the agriculture sector to be able to access financing to increase productivity so it’s really a means to an end,” she said.
ING Philippines Country Manager Hans B. Sicat also agreed with Roman-Tayag that there is a prevalence of fintechs providing payment solutions.
“We hope to find out that a number of fintech ideas could go beyond developing this payment solution type of thing,” Sicat told reporters.
The “Fintech for Impact” program aims to look for start-up companies building innovative tools that will serve the financially excluded and hardest-to-reach communities in the country. ING and Unicef’s Office of Innovation are particularly interested in companies that use fintech in new, groundbreaking ways that are scalable and globally applicable.
“Our ‘Fintech for Impact’ program with Unicef is very much aligned with our social responsibility as an institution. After this boot camp event, the next phase of the program will be identifying up to six applicants who will all move forward to the yearlong mentorship sessions,” said Sicat. “The mentorship will involve a variety of industry experts, including those from ING, who will help assist our selected fintech participants in both the technical and business aspects of their plans. The success of this program is integral as we continually build a more financially inclusive Philippines.”
The partnership will be investing $400,000 in support of up to six fintech start-ups who will be chosen for the program. Aside from funding, the chosen start-ups will benefit from a yearlong technical and business mentorship with experts to develop, and monitor, the social impact of the investments.
The search for fintech start-up participants is ongoing until February 23, 2020.
Some of the areas that fintech solutions can address include: financial services (e.g., increasing access); credit (increasing access for young entrepreneurs or parents to loans for education and skills development); transparency (e.g., using blockchain or smart contracts to improve on existing financial mechanisms); and financial education (e.g., using new technologies that employ games and virtual or augmented reality to reach more marginalized groups).
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