Swadhaar Saathi has been announced winner of the MetLife Foundation Inclusion Plus competition in India. The competition was open to entrepreneurs, businesses and non-profit organisations and aimed to discover innovative solutions to promote financial capability and access to financial services in India. With more than 100 entries, Swadhaar Saathi won the grand prize with its money management application and collected a grant of $100,000.
The Swadhaar Group is creating its android-based illustrative money management tool to be used on low cost smartphones by sub-illiterate groups. The application will allow the users to enter their income and expenses and track their financials. Participants can set goals and save money. The app will be distributed through peer educators, who are women from the community and are graduates of the financial education program.
“Absolute excitement” is how Preeti Telang, CEO of Swadhaar FinAccess, described how it felt to win. Telang stated, “With this grant money, we will be able to accelerate what we planned to do in three years, in one year. This sets us on a trajectory to improve our app in three key ways: build new features to capture business data, create a hyper-local marketplace of financial inclusion tools, and add a suite of financial literacy content.”
Artoo, in second place, won $30,000 and Shram Sarathi, Audience Choice and third place winner, took home $11,000 and Jana Urban Space Foundation (SAFI) and Suvidhaa Infoserve Pvt.Ltd. were each awarded $3,500.
PNB MetLife, in conjunction with MetLife Foundation and Verb, launched the competition to enable better access for low-to-moderate income people to quality financial products and services that encourage financial well-being. The competition, which launched in August 2016, saw PNB MetLife employees provide judging and mentoring to entrants to refine their business solutions.
Speaking on the occasion, Ashish Srivastava, Principal Officer & CEO, PNB MetLife said, “Inclusion Plus has been an exciting journey which culminates today with Swadhaar Saathi winning the grant. For the Inclusion Plus competition, nearly 100 PNB MetLife employees volunteered over 700 hours to serve as mentors and judges. We believe that this platform has enabled us to acknowledge innovative ideas which provide tangible solutions to increase access to sustainable financial services for the unbanked in the country.”
“It is very encouraging to see how corporate foundations and multinational businesses can partner with social entrepreneurs to fuel innovation and impact. The MetLife Foundation and PNB MetLife have come together to demonstrate how competitions can be a powerful engine to help address some of the world’s biggest economic problems,” said Verb Co-Founder and CEO, Suzi Sosa. “We congratulate the winners who have developed a powerful new way to include more people in planning for their financial futures.”
The Inclusion Plus India competition is part of a broader partnership between MetLife Foundation and Verb that will run across nearly ten countries over the next two years. Competitions have been completed in Ireland and China, with another underway in Mexico. These will help advance financial inclusion for the estimated 2 billion people globally who do not currently have access to formal financial services. To learn more about the competitions, visit inclusionplus.com.
About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million over five years to help build a more secure future for individuals and communities around the world. The Foundation’s focus on financial inclusion will help low-income people and businesses gain access to safe, affordable, and effective financial services. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.
About PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited
PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited (PNB MetLife) has as its shareholders MetLife International Holdings LLC. (MIHL), Punjab National Bank Limited (PNB), Jammu & Kashmir Bank Limited (JKB), M. Pallonji and Company Private Limited and other private investors, with MIHL and PNB being the majority shareholders. For more information, follow us on Twitter @PNBMetLife1, facebook.com/PNBMetLife or visit www.pnbmetlife.com. The marks “PNB” and “MetLife” are the registered trademarks of Punjab National Bank and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, respectively. PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited is a licensed user of these marks.
About Verb, Inc.
Verb is a social enterprise that produces global social entrepreneurship competitions and delivers employee engagement in partnership with companies, foundations and governments. Verb competitions mobilize thousands of teams from around the world to solve the planet’s most pressing social and environmental problems. Verb leverages its online platform, innovation expertise, and its global network of social impact organizations to produce an engagement experience unlike any other. For more information, please visit www.verb.net.
Photo Caption from Left to Right – (Winners holding the certificates) – Jana Urban Space Foundation (Fifth Place), Suvidhaa Nanocredit (Fourth Place), Artoo (Second Place), Swadhaar Saathi (Winner), Shram Sarathi (People’s Choice Award) and Shram Sarathi (Third Place).