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UAE Venture Selected For Inclusive FinTech Accelerator Programme ’Finance Forward’
(14 November 2019)

Village Capital and MetLife Foundation selected 11 early-stage ventures operating in the Middle East and North Africa, MENA, including Finllect from the UAE, for the Finance Forward: MENA 2019 accelerator programme, part of a multi-year global initiative led by founding partners, MetLife Foundation, PayPal, and Village Capital, supporting over 100 entrepreneurs with nine accelerators across four continents The programme will take place from 17th to 20th November, 2019, in Amman, and two peer-selected finalists from this cohort will receive grant capital provided by MetLife Foundation totalling US$50,000.

The participating entrepreneurs will build tech-enabled solutions for region-specific challenges around financial health, economic mobility, and community resilience.

The programme received applications from entrepreneurs operating across the region, with selected companies from Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, the UAE and the United States. They will help unbanked individuals gain access to formal financial services, create digital identities for refugees and migrant workers, provide access to employment for youth and women, allow small business owners to access affordable credit, and offer opportunities for underserved people to earn, save and invest for the future.

The cohort was selected with guidance from the Finance Forward MENA Advisory Board, as well as local partners, BeyondCapital and Endeavor.

The entrepreneurs in the programme will benefit from an award-winning curriculum focused on investment readiness. Based on the past results of Village Capital accelerator programmes, Finance Forward alumni globally are expected to collectively raise $10 million in follow-on funding over the next five years. Besides, the entrepreneurs will be introduced to mentors who can help their businesses thrive from a regulatory and technical perspective.

Allie Burns, CEO at Village Capital, said, "Finance Forward exists to put the focus on early-stage financial technology ventures that are changing lives but maybe sitting in investor-blind spots. It is a tough stage for such ventures, particularly in the MENA, which is relatively overlooked by the early-stage investment system. That is why we are helping these entrepreneurs speak the same language as investors, while simultaneously bringing investors’ attention to these businesses, which offer some excellent services that actively improve the financial health of users."

Elena Butarova, Head of Levant Countries and Managing Director of MetLife Egypt, said, "For MetLife Foundation, Finance Forward is an opportunity to harness the energy and creativity of entrepreneurs with inclusive solutions for the over 140 million underbanked consumers residing in the region. It is by supporting them that we will build better consumer financial health, more resilient communities, and create economic opportunity."

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