Motivations of the initiative

Recognizing that real social change entails group efforts across the private and public sector, longtime collaborators ING and UNICEF are conducting an investment pilot that seeks to leverage emerging technologies into opportunities for children, young people and families.

The FinTech for Impact joint initiative between ING and UNICEF is funding startups that can benefit the most financially excluded, by providing up to six equity-free investments of up to $US 100,000 in for-profit technology, focusing on social impact through FinTech development.

The initiative will focus on FinTech startups using blockchain, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, data science, and artificial intelligence technologies.

The Philippines has enjoyed rapid economic growth in recent years – it is the 2nd fastest growing economy in Asia. However, the benefits of this growth have not been shared equally; significant disparities remain. Over 10 million children live below the national poverty line; in some regions poverty rates for children are as high as 63%, and are actually on the rise. An estimated 2.85 million girls and boys aged 5-15 are out of school. Regular threats posed by climate change and natural disaster threaten an increasing number of families with displacement and economic insecurity.

FinTech for Impact organizers say without services like savings and insurance, families are vulnerable to economic insecurity – which limits their ability to plan, adapt to unexpected events, and provide the best nutrition, health, and education for their children. The initiative is looking for solutions that address challenges such as:

  • Financial Services

Increase access to banking and other financial services by making it easier and simpler to access appropriate products and services, particularly for youth and marginalized communities.

  • Credit

Applications of technology that could responsibly increase access for young entrepreneurs or parents to loans for education and skills development.

  • Transparency

Blockchain or smart contracts to improve on existing financial mechanisms, Financial data to help solve humanitarian or social challenges.

  • Financial education

New technologies that employ games, or “nudges” and incentives, to promote positive financial decision making, and improve financial skills.

With ING’s expertise in banking services and UNICEF’s contextual expertise and convening power, the collaboration is set for bigger, sustainable impact that can change futures for the most vulnerable children, youth and families. This incubation environment will purposefully and meaningfully enable innovators to scale at a level to reach underserved populations, with technical support for their fintech solutions and equity-free investment.