Mastercard Empowers Small Businesses via Start Path program

Mastercard (NYSE: MA) is expanding its commitment to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a new program in its global startup engagement program, Start Path, “specifically tailored to companies supporting the digital needs of SMEs.”

The startups that will be selected for the Start Path Small Business program “will demonstrate strong synergies with Mastercard’s approach to helping entrepreneurs around the world grow and thrive by empowering them with digital payment solutions, data insights, and innovative tools to run their enterprises more efficiently and securely.”

Sabrina Tharani, vice president, Global Startup & Venture Partnerships at Mastercard, said:

“With SMEs accounting for 90 percent of all global businesses and representing $50 trillion in annual spend, it’s critical that we collaborate to address their diverse challenges and different priorities across industries and regions. Collaboration is in our DNA, and we are seeking startups to join the Start Path Small Business program that are finding innovative ways to address critical SME needs – from making and receiving payments, getting access to working capital, digitizing their business, acquiring customers, and maintaining data that is accessible, safe and secure.”

The Start Path Small Business program “welcomes startups that are innovating across a range of digital services for SMEs, including accounting software, ecommerce solutions, lending platforms, payment technologies, digital banking and more.”

During the four-month program, startups will “have the opportunity to leverage Mastercard’s network and SME expertise to uncover product partnerships, scale their companies, and power solutions that drive safe, secure and simple experiences.”

Each company will “receive bespoke access to Mastercard’s customers and partners along with curated programming and a dedicated mentor who will help them identify and uncover collaboration opportunities.” They will also “have opportunities for technology collaboration and forums to pitch their solutions to prospects.”

Interested startups can now “apply for the Mastercard Start Path Small Business program here.”

Mastercard has “built strong relationships with many innovative SME alumni of Start Path – including Aper, Finpro, Lendio, MO Technologies, upSWOT and vcita – that have each gone on to co-create timely and relevant solutions” to support the SME cardholder lifecycle and beyond:

  • Aper: Building marketplace and e-commerce experiences for financial institutions to help them remain digitally relevant while fostering safe, easy and fast shopping for consumers
  • Finpro: Assisting SMEs in forecasting their financials, collaborating, and achieving company objectives through real-time analytics and dashboards
  • Lendio: Helping business owners find and manage the working capital they need to grow their operations – offering a unique way to apply for financing through Mastercard
  • Digital Doors; leveraging Mastercard’s open banking platform to authenticate bank statements and reduce the risk of fraud
    MO Technologies: Enabling companies to launch their credit operations at a laser speed through cutting-edge products
  • upSWOT: Providing software that analyzes key data and behaviors and offers real-time forecasting capabilities and relevant recommendations to help SMEs proactively manage and mitigate cash flow challenges\
  • vcita: Creating an open platform that enables solution and service providers to deliver a full suite of business management and learning tools that empower SMEs to digitize business operations

Mastercard has “engaged with more than 350 startups representing more than 40 countries through Start Path since 2014.”

Today, many of these companies are “entering the public market, reaching unicorn status, and pursuing extended commercial engagements with Mastercard and its customers as well as with other key partners.” The SME startups that will be “handpicked for the Start Path Small Business program will march with Mastercard toward a shared vision of empowering every business.”

For more details on this update, check here.

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