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Mosabi – unlocking financial opportunities for underserved and vulnerable populations through innovative learning

Mosabi links edtech and fintech with mobile e-learning that helps informal sector citizens increase incomes and unlock access to resources.

Photo of Chris Czerwonka
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Mosabi envisions a world where everyone has the tools and skills to improve their livelihoods – and where education and access to financial products are available to all. In emerging markets, and especially among displaced populations, informal sector entrepreneurs often have limited formal education and financial literacy and little to no access to capital. Financial exclusion makes upward mobility more difficult, and it generates cycles of subsistence-level income. Critically, financial institutions that could serve the rising class find it too expensive and inefficient to do so. Mosabi empowers underserved populations with the "MBA for the rising billions" – phone-based, business-focused e-learning to help citizens increase their income and link to digital financial services. Lesson topics include entrepreneurship, business skills, digital resources and financial literacy. Partner financial institutions see B2B data insights, including our alternative credit scoring via API – and can then offer financial products to clients more confidently and efficiently. On their phones, learners go through topics such as entrepreneurship, business skills, digital resources and financial literacy through compelling, lightweight video lessons (available in major languages as well as hyper-local tribal languages). Our platform also uses game-ified quizzing, surveys, chatbots, and other messaging to drive meaningful engagement. Mosabi then links fintech and edtech by harnessing analytics into user risk profiles that our partner financial service providers can use to screen and onboard clients. We help our financial institution partners expand outreach to clients they previously would not serve. They create a larger, more informed and better understood customer base – reducing costs to onboard and upskill them, moving the needle on behavior change, achieving meaningful engagement, and driving higher lifetime customer value.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

The Mosabi ecosystem links our institutional *customers* with end-user *learners*. Our customers are organizations with strategic priorities for financial inclusion in emerging markets of Africa, Latin America and Asia. Learners are low-income, informal sector entrepreneurs and are almost always unbanked or underbanked. They also include marginalized groups, such as refugees, women and girls who face gender barriers, and citizens of post-conflict and fragile nations.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Mosabi envisions a world where everyone has the tools and skills to improve their livelihoods, and where education and access to financial products are available to all. Economic and social exclusion prevents this from becoming a reality. Half of the world’s economy is informal, 1.7 billion people are unbanked, and 70 million people globally are displaced. Cyclical poverty persists among these underserved and vulnerable groups due to a lack of financial literacy and a lack of financial access.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Our fundamental ethos and approach are stridently focused on improving skills, opportunities and financial inclusion for underserved populations. Mosabi’s human-centered design is designed to bridge digital and gender divides and boost micro and small business development. Catalysts of local economic development – entrepreneurship skills, financial literacy, expanding access to formal financial accounts and credit, and driving adoption of digital payments – are core to Mosabi’s curriculum, and it all serves to build resilience through finance.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

For social impact metrics, we track an array of indicators aligned with the IRIS initiative of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). Our key impact metric is the increase in the earnings of our users, and # of people employed. Indicators also include living standards measurements, baselines and progress-out-of-poverty indexing (PPI). We are happy to share details on our monitoring and evaluation strategy and plan across these operational and social impact indicator metrics.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

I and everyone who reads this has almost certainly completed higher education, and many of us have multiple diplomas and certificates. If not literally, we all "hold up" those credentials virtually in the world around us and derive value from those investments we made to learn and build skills. Why shouldn't low-income, vulnerable, and displaced people in emerging markets be able to do that as well? That's what we're building. We believe passionately that the value we provide users is transformational and practical. Our training helps users increase their income, and our lessons and economic incentives are specifically designed to drive behavior change. Mosabi creates unique value from learning for people excluded from traditional educational pathways as we help them understand and access further resources. We strive, monitor, and measure for that impact: inclusive education and a platform for generating employment, closing gender gaps, eradicating poverty, and developing skills.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

We had initial launches in Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, and Paraguay. Our most recent launch started several months ago in Sierra Leone – our Africa base of operations – and in Senegal. The same gaps in education, skills, and resources also exist across Latin America and Asia, and we are laying the groundwork for expansion to those regions. Among the countries at the top of those lists are Mexico and India. Within 5 years we plan to launch in 20 countries across the Global South, and in 10 years we aim to have emerged as the worldwide training platform of choice for lifelong learning aligned with global sustainable development.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Below we describe our go-to-market model with “distribution partners”. An example is our partnership with World Vision to bring Mosabi’s training and links to financial products to the women membership of their village savings groups programs. Our work on this initiative can provide substantive impact – for both individual and household livelihood outcomes, but also for societal economic improvement. They access capital to build micro-enterprises, gain safe places to keep money outside their homes and handle finances with greater privacy and efficiency. The formal platforms for digital payments foster strengthened budgeting, investments in business operations and steps toward credit histories. The social impact is also tremendous: household expenditures on health, education and sanitation all increase as returns on investments in education and financial inclusion of grassroots entrepreneurs.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Our ideal customers include banks (ones we currently work with, like Société Générale, Ecobank, FMO and Inter-American Development Bank) and others we hope to work with like BBVA, Asian Development Bank and United Overseas Bank) and larger microfinance institutions that embrace innovation (such as FINCA and VisionFund), pan-continental telecoms/MNOs (such as Airtel, Orange, Tigo, and MTN), insurance and micro-insurance companies, asset financing companies, and other fintech companies (such as payment platforms and pay-as-you-go solar organizations). We also work with development sector organizations and INGOs such as the World Bank, UNCDF and FSD.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Early Adoption: We have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have proof of user uptake (i.e. 16% to 49% of the target population or 1,000 to 50,000 users).

Group or Organization Name

Mosabi

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Our group of founders came together after collective decades pursuing global development impact – in education, financial inclusion, entertainment, and tech. Among this team we have worked for years in field financial inclusion, gender empowerment, technology, innovation ecosystems, curriculum design, and AI and machine learning. Our two team members leading African operations spent formative childhood years in displaced circumstances.

Website URL:

https://mosabi.co

Type of submitter

  • We are a For-Profit Startup or Startup Social Enterprise

Organization Headquarters: Country

Sierra Leone

Organization Headquarters: City / State

Freetown, Western Area

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Photo of Uchenna Okafor
Team

Hi Chris Czerwonka, it is great to design for economic emancipation of less fortunate people. Yes; it is a giant stride in the right direction and many applauds to this innovation. However, can blind persons access your platform with ease? Put differently, is your platform compatible with IOS and android speech accessibility Apps?

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