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The landscape of tech solutions creating economic opportunity

Entrepreneurs are adopting and deploying technologies to help customers build skills and land good jobs, access affordable credit and financial services, maximize benefits and manage debt.

Five-year-old Impact Engine is a Chicago-based accelerator turned early-stage impact investor with a portfolio of nearly three dozen “impact tech” startups. For the firm, creating economic opportunities for low-income communities is both high-impact and a good financial investment.

In the first of a four-part series of articles, the firm explores the landscape of opportunities in economic empowerment.

Skill Scout, in Chicago, for example, helps employers look beyond resumes to find candidates they wouldn’t have otherwise considered by collecting and sharing applicants’ work samples. Pangea Money Transfer, also in Chicago, allows users to quickly and inexpensively send money internationally through their phones. New York-based First Access helps microfinance institutions around the world reduce the cost of underwriting loans and boosts access to credit using a proprietary credit-scoring algorithm to identify a prospective borrower’s real credit risk.

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