eMoneyPool: Bringing #Fintech to a Centuries-Old Savings Tool

A cundina in Mexico. A chit fund in India. A sou sou in West African and Caribbean nations. Informal savings pools, around for centuries, are still the preferred savings tool of billions of low-income people around the world. Savings circles are common in another country with a large unbanked population as well — the United States. Phoenix-based

Tending the Ocean, Not Just the Seafood: Valuing Ecosystem Services in New Zealand

The Māori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud, also known as New Zealand. The Māori also are the owners of Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd., one of the country’s largest seafood companies and a major supplier of  pāua, or abalone. That makes Aotearoa Fisheries an excellent candidate for a new

Village Capital: FinTech Solutions to Real-World Problems

Ann DeRosa of Chilton Capital had only one question after hearing the pitch from Brian Ferguson, founder of Start Line, a sort of Yelp for former inmates to help with their re-entry to society. “Just tell me, what do you need?” Ferguson and nine other entrepreneurs were on stage in Oakland, Calif., at the FinTech

Root Capital: Women-Led Businesses Boost Farmer Incomes and Social Outcomes

Root Capital, a nonprofit lender to farmer associations and agricultural businesses in Africa and Latin America, seeks borrowers that will both repay their loans and strengthen their communities. That’s why, increasingly, it lends to women. The Nahuala coffee cooperative in the highlands of Guatemala is the kind of growing rural agricultural business Root seeks out.

Worker-Owned Co-ops Gain Traction

Madison, Wisconsin will invest $5 million in worker-owned cooperatives in 2015, more than four times the $1.2 million that New York City mayor Bill de Blasio committed last year to the growing movement of worker-owner businesses. Worker cooperatives are increasingly part of the conversation around ways to reduce income inequality. There are roughly 30,000 cooperatives in

Uh-Oh: Microcredit Does Not Relieve Poverty

Microcredit is not living up to its promise to relieve poverty, concludes new research published in January’s American Economic Journal. Studies of microcredit programs in six countries “do not find clear evidence, or even much in the way of suggestive evidence, of reductions in poverty or substantial improvements in living standards,” according to policy research

Progreso Financiero: Banking on the Unbanked

Payday lenders, who sometimes charge more than 400 percent in annual interest, are a big fat juicy target for a new breed of mission-driven financial institutions. Short-term payday loans and other “alternative” financial services, such as check-cashing and money transfers, cater to the one-quarter of U.S. households that don’t have bank accounts. The 68 million