Small business changemakers, FUNDES, to receive share of $1 million Mastercard Strive Community grant

CatalystSmall business changemakers, FUNDES, to receive share of $1 million Mastercard Strive Community grant

Small business changemakers, FUNDES, to receive share of $1 million Mastercard Strive Community grant

Small business changemakers, FUNDES, to receive share of $1 million Mastercard Strive Community grant

By: Mastercard Strive Community, July 2022

July 14, 2022. Today, FUNDES was announced as one of eight global recipients of the inaugural round of grants from the Strive Community Innovation Fund. FUNDES Catalyst focuses on innovative ways to help micro and small businesses reach their full potential as changemakers.

The company which aims to bring the best technology solutions and human connections directly to the millions of traditional entrepreneurs who need them, will receive a share of $1 million in total grant funding towards their work in creating a comparison marketplace of digital solutions for small retailers. 

FUNDES celebrates the opportunity presented by the Innovation Fund grant, enabling it to transform the comparator into a full marketplace of digital solutions for small retailers and merchants, powered by a built-in algorithm that will ultimately serve as a service aggregator between small retailers in Latin America’s informal economy and the digital world. 

Corentin Larue, Director of FUNDES Catalyst, said, “In Latin America, the long-term survival of millions of small merchants depends on their ability to adapt and embrace digitization. Digital illiteracy and asymmetry of information impede them from doing so. The Strive Innovation Fund and FUNDES’ ambition is to overcome these barriers by developing innovative digital solutions that connect merchants to the digital economy.”

Small businesses, like the ones supported by FUNDES’ innovations, are essential agents of inclusive growth, with estimates indicating that they provide 70% of total employment worldwide. This is even more prevalent in low-income countries, with around 90% of employment stemming from businesses with under 10 employees[1].  FUNDES, alongside the seven other awardees, are transforming how small businesses operate and are supported in a world that is rapidly digitizing. 

Strive Community is a global philanthropic initiative launched by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth in partnership with Caribou Digital. The initiative is focused on strengthening the resilience of small businesses and supporting their growth. Since companies that struggle to make effective use of new technologies risk being left behind, the Innovation Fund was established to spark truly innovative, digital, and data-first solutions that will boost small businesses’ efforts to go digital.

“Digital technologies are rapidly transforming the way businesses interact with their customers, with their employees, and with a global marketplace,” said Shamina Singh, President of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “These Innovation Fund grantees are all introducing creative solutions that have potential to not only ease the challenges of digitization for small businesses, but unlock its promise, enabling them to grow and thrive.”

The other winners, chosen from more than 650 applicants globally, are as follows:

  •     Flourish FI, Brazil
           • Using behavioral insights, open banking data combined with tried & tested game-mechanics to drive improved financial management and financial decision-making by small business owners.
  •     XR Global, Brazil
           • Testing the potential of virtual reality (VR) to upskill small businesses, by bringing learners into immersive experiences.
  •     Open Contracting Partnership, USA/Colombia
           • Creating a marketplace that leverages open data about government contract awards to seamlessly connect small businesses winning contracts with financial institutions who can offer them credit.
  •     ChatGenie, Philippines
           • Building new features that reduce friction in the sales process for small businesses selling via social commerce. The solution also enables management of multiple social commerce channels within a single app.
  •     Boost Capital, Cambodia
           • Scaling up smartphone enabled loans and financial education, and jumpstarting the creation of a virtuous cycle in which businesses engaging in digital financial education are rewarded with better access to financial services. 
  •     Novek, Kenya
           • An Internet-of-Things enabled dispensing machine for powder-based goods, to reduce stock outs, increase sales by dispensing in quantities customers can afford, and eliminate single-use packaging. 
  •     Boost Technology Ltd, South Africa, Nigeria
           • Trialling a new service that combines data analysis, behavioural science and conversational commerce to empower small retailers with insights to make them more resilient.

Small businesses can learn more about the Strive Community, funding, and partnership opportunities by visiting

About the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. The Center leverages the company’s core assets and competencies, including data insights, expertise and technology, while administering the philanthropic Mastercard Impact Fund, to produce independent research, scale global programs and empower a community of thinkers, leaders and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. For more information and to receive its latest insights, follow the Center on Twitter and LinkedIn, and subscribe to its newsletter.


A consulting firm specializing in the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), leading to the strengthening of value chains and competitive business ecosystems.

  • FUNDES Catalyst

Is the business unit of FUNDES Latinoamerica dedicated to promoting micro-entrepreneurs who are otherwise excluded from innovative services in Latin America’s traditional markets.

Latin America’s traditional marketplaces are excluded. We develop, launch and operate innovative solutions and start-ups to solve the fundamental business problems of micro and small enterprises, which are typically family-owned and represent 98% of all businesses in the region.



Corentin Larue,

Director of FUNDES Catalyst

Ana Cristina Merino,

Investor Relations Manager


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