Thursday, March 31, 2016
MetLife Foundation and Verb Announce Global Competition to Improve Financial Services for the Underserved
MetLife Foundation and Verb announced today, the launch of “Inclusion Plus,” a global competition for entrepreneurs, non-profits and companies focused on addressing the financial health needs of low to moderate income households.
Launching in Ireland and expanding to at least 10 countries over the next three years, “Inclusion Plus” will be managed by Verb, a social enterprise that produces large-scale social entrepreneurship competitions in partnership with global companies, foundations and governments. MetLife Foundation, the sole sponsor, will provide an equivalent of USD 50,000 in each country to the top five finalists. Teams that advance to the semifinal round will be paired with MetLife associates as mentors.
“This challenge is designed to significantly extend beyond the work of traditional financial institutions through a series of competitions with a focus on the unique needs of each location,” said Dennis White, president & ceo of MetLife Foundation. “We need to come at the issue of financial inclusion in innovative ways and this is one of them. We are proud to be partnering with Verb, as they are well-recognized for their work in combining innovation and technology and bringing it to scale.”
The competition aims to support innovative ideas that improve financial health. For example, participants may be working on the development of financial products and services, approaches to improve basic cash flow management, or financial technology innovations that enable consumers to take advantage of new opportunities and achieve their short- and long-term financial goals.
“Our goal is to help our clients build social innovation ecosystems,” says Verb CEO Suzi Sosa, “Financial well-being is a complex problem that cannot be solved by any single solution. Our competition platform enables us to engage entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners, mentors and thousands of people from the general public. By strengthening connections among these groups, we don’t just find one great idea, we actually strengthen the innovation ecosystem.”
Verb anticipates that “Inclusion Plus” will attract more than 1,000 social ventures from around the world and will include MetLife staff from a dozen or more countries to serve as mentors and judges for the competition, contributing hundreds of volunteer hours.