68 million adults in America are currently disconnected from the financial system, with 17 million of those individuals having no bank accounts at all (FDIC 2014). Even including Americans with bank accounts, many are not able to successfully save; according to the Federal Reserve, one half of Americans can’t pay for an unexpected $400 expense through savings or credit cards, without selling something or borrowing money. This is often due to the burden of debt, or the lack of financial literacy, and access to credit.
To address this challenge, Village Capital is cultivating financial technology entrepreneurs from across the US that are disrupting existing industries and increasing financial health for underserved communities and small businesses to participate in the Village Capital FinTech: US 2016 program, held in partnership with PayPal. This three-month program will support entrepreneurs with an award-winning program curriculum, 1:1 mentorship from sector leaders, and tailored engagements with potential strategic partners and investors. At the end of the program, the top 2 peer-selected ventures will receive an offer for $75,000 USD investment in pre-committed capital from VilCap Investments and Access Ventures.
At Rise New York space, July 12, 2016, I served as a mentor Village Capital and PayPal's latest FinTech US Program, themed "Democratizing Entrepreneurship."I met with Fig Loans, The Wealth Factory, DocuVital, advising each on PR and brand strategies. Overall, these organizations are tackling social challenges through innovative finance, technology and education, leaving me enthusiastic about what this means for the future of financial inclusion. Thank you to Hallie Noble and Dustin Shay for getting me involved, and congratulations on cultivating the next generation of leaders at the intersection of fintech and social impact.