Ten financial literacy innovations were awarded grants and support by the PhilDev Foundation and Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation, Inc. (CLFI) to boost financial literacy in underserved communities in the Philippines.
Over 50 teams responded to the Financial Literacy Innovation Challenge launched in April 2021. They went on a three-week journey learning from seasoned innovators and entrepreneurs, financial literacy and inclusion experts, and youth advocates to help them develop their solutions.
The teams were also mentored by industry leaders from the combined network of PhilDev and CLFI to further refine their projects before the pitch competition held on May 17, 2021.
Exploring financial literacy innovations
The winning student teams stepped back and focused on the basics of financial literacy when they developed their projects. The winning ideas came from Team Project Southland Ugyon, +Ventures, The Salazars, Centavion, and PitaKabataan.
Nixsun Casuncad from Team Project Southland Ugyon shared how the competition provided them an opportunity to create a solution that complements their college’s livelihood program for the residents of Sitio Bakyas in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
"Our idea came about when we talked to the [Sitio Bakyas'] community leader and found out that they don't have enough knowledge about running a business nor basic bookkeeping and record keeping. This is why our team focused on financial education and mentorship in our idea," said Casuncad.
Teaching financial literacy basics to the community is also a key strategy of +Ventures in their fintech startup called Nubank PH. +Ventures’ founder Clarence Janna Nieva said "tackling the basics that are practical yet impactful can provide the communities a solid financial foundation, and from there, they can build more.”
Meanwhile, a team of students from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) called The Salazars pitched a multi-level intervention called FILEx or Financial Inclusivity and Literacy Express to emphasize the importance of sustained engagement with the community.
"A big part of our experience leading in the [student] council was applied in our initiative. We know that if we want to help a certain community, one exposure is not enough. It’s important for us to immerse with them and get that community development experience, and have our initiative come across to them,” said The Salazars member Gabriella Javier.
Centavion and PitaKabataan, on the other hand, focused on gamification and creating engaging learning content to educate young people on financial literacy.
The five teams were awarded a P20,000 grant each and an opportunity to access further support from PhilDev and CLFI should they wish to implement their innovations in their target communities.
Scaling solutions for greater impact
Three teams from the professional track, on the other hand, emerged as winners in the challenge. Each team was awarded a P100,000 grant to help them scale their existing solutions and enable them to reach more underserved communities.
The first winner is Agrabah Ventures for their implementation of "an online financial product comparison and matching platform that is tailored specifically for farmers and fisherfolk."
Hyperlokal Kapital, a joint project between Kids Who Farm and Golden Age of Life Society, received the second prize for adopting a community savings club model that also provides communities hyperlocal access to capital for their small businesses and financial services.
The third winning team is Spare, which was awarded for developing a mobile application that digitizes customers' loose change and allows them to access a digital piggy bank that also serves as a micro-savings platform.
Team Wealth Jar and The Budget Squad finished as the competition’s runners-up, getting P20,000 each for their innovation.
Innovating for lasting change
In his message, PhilDev Chairman Dr. Francisco "Paco" Sandejas emphasized the role of innovation in eradicating poverty in the country.
"This has been our vision since the beginning: to see more and more innovators and entrepreneurs coming together and discovering ways to enable the success of Filipinos. This [innovation challenge] is a testament that in order to effectively work towards greater financial inclusion and literacy in the country, there is a need for participation from more stakeholders and key ecosystem players," said Sandejas.
First launched in 2020, PhilDev’s Innovation Challenges seek to discover and support sustainable enterprise solutions in response to operational gaps shared by organizations while fostering a human-centered design approach and mindset among participants.
ABS-CBN News is a partner of the Phildev Foundation in their recently concluded Financial Literacy Innovation Challenge project.