Mastercard Strive awards nearly $2 million in grants to 11 innovative organizations supporting small businesses across the globeDecember 4, 2023 | Purchase, NY
The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth announced the newest grant recipients of the Mastercard Strive Innovation Fund, with nearly $2 million in grants distributed globally. Mastercard Strive supports early-stage solutions with the potential to drive outsized impact for small businesses in the categories of sustainability, digitalization, community lending, and more. Funding is awarded to change-making organizations focused on building, testing, and scaling creative solutions that drive small business growth, financial resilience, and environmental sustainability.
The Strive Innovation Fund program, which is administered by Caribou Digital and DAI, will support 11 organizations around the world, including seven organizations focused on innovative digital solutions that support small businesses’ growth in environmental sustainability and data for market access. In the United States, grants will be awarded, through Strive USA, to four organizations focused on elevating and accelerating promising ideas for strengthening the small business ecosystem through digital and data-first approaches.
“Every day, digital advances are creating new opportunities for small business growth and resilience. Mastercard Strive helps provide the necessary funding to develop and scale ideas and solutions that meet the needs of small businesses today and for the future. This is key as we work toward an economy and society that promises opportunity for everyone, everywhere,” said Shamina Singh, founder and president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.
Strive is a global portfolio of philanthropic programs that aim to help small businesses around the world thrive in the digital economy. Through targeted grantmaking and local partnerships, Strive supports small businesses with the goal of building more resilient enterprises that have more opportunities to grow and succeed.
Grantees of the Strive Innovation Fund include:
Vested Impact, Global
Vested Impact assesses the impact of companies’ activities against the 169 United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Targets. They are developing a portal for automated impact assessment for small businesses, particularly in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.
Alner employs a reusable and returnable packaging system in Indonesia, replacing single-use, non-recyclable packaging for daily essentials. They empower small businesses as resellers with a digital solution, namely a mobile app, enabling them to sell zero-waste yet affordable daily products and monitor consumer habits, packaging return rates, and business performance to drive efficiency.
SkyEye is a geospatial and software solutions provider whose ecommerce platform works with Samoan small businesses to facilitate access to local and international markets and collect sales, user, and location data. This platform helps enterprises with advanced business intelligence analyses.
SoBanHang is a business management mobile app that empowers small businesses to sell more across digital channels, manage business operations efficiently, and access inclusive financial services easily on smartphones. SoBanHang wants to provide merchants instant access to market data and procurement services through its Intelligent Procurement Solution for small businesses in Vietnam.
Tern Eco Ltd, UK
Tern’s mission is to help retailers of any size build brand-owned circular models that meet business objectives and sustainability goals – reducing waste while driving customer lifetime value and unlocking new opportunities for revenue growth. They plan to improve the functionality and flexibility of their current service to enable additional circular models and leverage the collected data through the development of an API infrastructure.
Datasketch advocates for the responsible use of data technologies to enable evidence-based decisions. Their mission is to democratize data science for small businesses, particularly those in developing nations, by equipping them with accessible, easy-to-use tools to harness the power of their own data.
Africa 118, Ethiopia
Africa 118's mission is to act as marketing support to help African small businesses get discovered by leveraging digital platforms and social media. Africa 818 leverages a Digital Presence Pack, which it plans to expand to add value and accelerate its adoption, including social media integration, a mobile operator and market intelligence database.
Accessity, Calif., U.S.
Accessity opens the doors of financial opportunity for primarily low-to-moderate income and diverse entrepreneurs through access to small business loans and a community of support and resources. Accessity’s SmartLend solution will utilize Accessity’s years of lending data and integrate AI-enabled tools to enhance the client experience through education and resources, predictive analytics, and a simplified and expedited loan application and underwriting process.
Aeris Insight, U.S.
Aeris Insight accelerates the flow of capital to Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), whose mission is to provide financial services to underserved small business and communities in the U.S. Aeris will establish a data repository to support analysis of CDFI industry performance and create a performance baseline for new investment and liquidity tools that expand and diversify capital resources.
California Farmlink, Calif., U.S.
California FarmLink is focused on investing in the livelihoods and well-being of farmers, ranchers, and fishers who build and restore healthy communities and natural environments. In partnership with local Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs), FarmLink will pilot a program that integrates capital tools, digital solutions, and conservation measures to better support Latino farmers and promote social impact investment in climate-smart agriculture.
Scale Link & LoanWell, U.S.
Scale Link and LoanWell are piloting a scalable solution — Regional SMB Loan Digital Marketplace — that will facilitate small business lending via a common interface with a network of participating CDFI lenders, for the purposes of loan applications, matching, reporting, and recapitalizing of loans by Scale Link.
About the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. The Center leverages the company’s core assets and competencies, including data insights, expertise, and technology, while administering the philanthropic Mastercard Impact Fund, to produce independent research, scale global programs, and empower a community of thinkers, leaders, and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. For more information and to receive its latest insights, follow the Center on LinkedIn, Instagram and subscribe to its newsletter.
About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.