Mercy Corps Launches $1M Fund to Test Blockchain Solutions for Financial Inclusion
Up to ten startups will receive support for pilot projects.
Portland, OR - Mercy Corps is launching a new Crypto for Good Fund of $1 million to test and support blockchain-based solutions for people who are currently low-income and/or unbanked. Up to 10 social enterprises will receive up to $100,000 in grant funding to test their pilot projects applying decentralized finance and blockchain technology to build financial inclusion solutions for users in emerging markets. Applicants can submit their pilot proposals on Medium. Applications are open from March 15th to April 15th, 2022.
Through Mercy Corps Ventures, the impact investing arm of Mercy Corps, startups will receive grant funding, mentorship, networking opportunities, brand exposure, and more. Pilot projects should utilize decentralized finance and blockchain technology to improve access to financial services and other livelihood improvements for low-income communities in frontier and emerging economies.
“We are excited to partner with visionary founding teams to identify, test and prove the potential of crypto and web3 to improve financial access for the 1.7 billion people in the world who are currently unbanked,” says Scott Onder, Senior Managing Director of Mercy Corps Ventures. “Our aim is to validate use-cases and accelerate the development of solutions that drive positive impact for users in emerging markets.”
Applicants must be early-stage startups leveraging blockchain to deliver financial inclusion solutions to low-income and/or un/underbanked users, have active users and commercial revenue, and be an entity registered and operating in the country of pilot. Pilots can operate in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Pacific Islands, Eastern Europe or Western Balkans.
Mercy Corps Ventures is particularly interested in supporting entrepreneurs local to the market in which they're operating as well as female founders, applicants with representation of women at all levels of the organization and/or solutions that reach an extensive female-user base.
About Mercy Corps and Mercy Corps Ventures
Mercy Corps is a global team of over 5,400 humanitarians working to create a world where everyone can prosper. In more than 40 countries affected by crisis, disaster, poverty and climate change, we work alongside communities, local governments, forward-thinking corporations and social entrepreneurs to meet urgent needs and develop long-term solutions to make lasting change possible. Mercy Corps has a total operating budget of over $550M and last year reached over 50 million people.
Mercy Corps Ventures (MCV) invests in and fuels high-impact enterprises, from seed to scale. Founded in 2015 as the impact investing arm of Mercy Corps, MCV has supported 32 early-stage ventures to scale and raise over $125 million in follow-on capital. MCV’s portfolio centers around solutions that build climate resilience and financial resilience, so that those living in frontier markets can withstand disruption and plan for the future. As part of their focus on financial resilience, MCV works with partners to responsibly pilot new decentralized finance products and services tailored to un/underbanked and low-income populations.