CFSI $3 Million Challenge to improve the financial health of underserved populations

March 12, 2018 Payments
By Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist
By Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist

The Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab), part of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) has launched a $3 million challenge to find fintech innovators and products that can help improve the financial health of underserved populations in the U.S. According to CFSI’s Consumer Financial Health Study, 57% of U.S. households are struggling with their financial health. The FinLab has run a similar challenge for the past three years, and for its fourth year the focus is on identifying solutions developed by entrepreneurs of color, women and people with disabilities.

The selected organizations get $250,000 in capital as well as help from organizations like ideas42, IDEO.org and Google, as well as access to the JPMorgan Chase employee mentorship program. John Thompson, Chief Program Officer at CFSI said, “the 26 organizations supported by the lab so far have cumulatively grown to help more than 2.5 million Americans improve their financial health — more than 15 times the consumer base they served before joining the lab.”

People and organizations interested in applying for the challenge are encouraged to share how their products can help consumers improve their financial health, how their company or nonprofit will succeed in serving a diverse market and how their teams reflect this diversity. Despite improvement in recent years, all-women teams of entrepreneurs received just $1.9 billion of the $85 billion total invested by venture capitalists last year. Only 3 percent of the venture capitalist workforce is black while only 4 percent is Hispanic or Latino. Diverse leaders and teams also tend to develop more inclusive products and services with the potential to scale to millions of customers. Past lessons from FinLab’s classes show that these are important areas to tackle.

FinTech innovators and platforms interested in joining the FinLab’s fourth year class can submit an application at http://finlab.cfsinnovation.com. The deadline is April 11, 2018 and winners will be announced at the EMERGE Forum 2018, from June 6-8 in Los Angeles.

“Technology offers a tremendous opportunity to help us reach overlooked populations with financial products and services that can improve their long-term financial health,” said Colleen Briggs, Head of Community Innovation, JPMorgan Chase. “We want to see more innovation designed to meet the needs of underserved populations and teams of entrepreneurs that reflect this diversity. We believe that the FinLab’s continued focus on inclusive fintech will help us unlock this potential.”

The FinLab itself is managed by the Center for Financial Services Innovation, with founding partner JPMorgan Chase. It is an innovative program that seeks to identify, test and bring to scale promising innovations that can help to improve financial health for all in America. The CFSI is in turn the leading authority on consumer financial health, heading a network of committed financial services innovators committed to build better consumer products and practices.

JPMorgan Chase is a founding partner of the CFSI and also the founding partner for the Financial Solutions Lab – committing its financial expertise and $30 million over five years to this initiative.

About the author

Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist

Owen Linderholm is Senior Content Strategist at WePay. He has previously held content and editorial roles at Yahoo, Microsoft, IDG and the BBC.

More blog posts by Owen Linderholm