Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
When we began meeting with the immigrant workers we wanted to design for, what we heard again and again were stories of failure, feelings of powerlessness, and the sense that no matter how hard they tried, saving was impossible. Our company's goal is to create tools that change the story that people have about their money, and change the story that people have about themselves. We want our products to empower people to feel confidence and momentum in their financial decisions and aspirations - a confidence that drives true behavior change, asset building and financial inclusion for our users.
Which barrier(s) to financial inclusion does your solution seek to address? (select all applicable)
Physical and other accessibility obstacles that prevent communities from reaching financial services, The lack of affordable financial products tailored to the needs of underserved and excluded communities,, Other (Please describe below).
If you selected 'other' above, please specify which other barriers to financial inclusion you solution seeks to address:
Sustained Behavior Change
For which underserved or excluded communities will your solution create access to valuable, affordable, secure and comprehensive financial services?
Our products are designed for cash-based households, initially for first-generation Latino immigrants in the U.S. (over half of whom are un or underbanked), and ultimately for the financially underserved all across the world.
Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?
Because the Juntos solution is based on technology already widely used and available around the world (simple SMS messages, from all kinds of phones), it is readily ported to a variety of developing world contexts as well as to underbanked populations in the developed world.
If your solution is dramatically successful, how will things be different in 10 years?
The personal financial management industry, currently created for and serving the population who needs it least, will be reoriented to those who need it most, turning a simple cell phone into a powerful ally towards successful, confident financial management for those who struggle daily to stretch limited finances. Our products will drive personal empowerment and transformative behavior change that changes savings rates and drives the relevance and success of micro-savings products around the world in ways the industry today can't imagine. The interests of formal financial institutions and the underbanked will be more closely aligned because our products will have bridged gaps existing today, by driving financial inclusion for savings products, PFM tools, and responsible credit.
What will have had to have changed to make this happen?
Cell phone ownership and SMS usage will need to increase in some parts of the world. The end user will need to be educated about the solution and believe it can positively impact his/her success in financial management and savings. Financial service providers need to believe that habit change can make the underbanked population a more attractive customer base for their current and future products.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Over 1,000 households have successfully used our products. Our savings results are matching or exceeding many federally funded programs where similarly-low-income families are paid matching funds if they save. 74% of our successful savers say they have NEVER saved prior to Juntos. Even by putting very small sums aside each week, users have been able to buy their first cars, have money ready for Christmas presents, and visit family in Mexico.
Our tools inspire new confidence and control: as one user of our tracking tool, Angela S. told us, ""this is the 1st week when I don't feel anxiety in my stomach as I lay in bed because I can't figure out how the money has disappeared."" As people unlock their own ability to achieve their financial goals, it changes not only their own stories, but those of their family and community as well.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
Driving financial inclusion for 1 million people across 3 continents by catalyzing, through our tools, successful engagement and usage of other financial services like micro-savings accounts and responsible loans.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Our greatest challenge is new user adoption. For our customer, Juntos doesn’t represent a new brand, it’s a new product category: Personal Financial Management tools are almost unknown by our core user, and as a result it can be difficult to convey the value proposition of our tools. Especially when potential users believe "it’s impossible for someone like me to save." This is both the challenge and the opportunity we face.
Our current strategy to address this challenge is to turn to word of mouth and partner channels for distribution. Distribution through partnerships with financial institutions introduces challenges of partner adoption. Demonstration pilots and proof points of our value proposition to financial service providers will be important to lowering those entry hurdles.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Compellingly demonstrate value proposition of our products to financial institutions through initial partnerships
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Serve 15,000 users in at least 2 countries