Financial Solutions Lab Launches Sixth Fintech Accelerator Competition to Support Innovative Financial Health Solutions for Workers and Students
The Financial Solutions Lab, an initiative from the Financial Health Network and founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co.( JPMC), announced the launch of its sixth accelerator challenge, where they are offering up to $125k to selected companies or ideas that help people who face persistent financial health challenges navigate financial challenges effectively while training for new careers. These could include everything from paying for education to securing assistance with bills or child care. Applications are open through January 2020.
This is the latest collaboration for the Financial Solutions Lab, part of a new $50M investment in the initiative announced by JPMC recently. Over 6 years, FSL has so far supported 40 organizations that have served more than 4.5M consumers helping them save more than $1B.
The challenge will focus on cultivating, supporting and scaling fintech solutions that support the financial health of workers and students, with a focus on people who face persistent financial health challenges, including low- to moderate-income (LMI) consumers, communities of color, aging individuals, people with disabilities, women, and other underserved consumers. Applications now accepted through Jan. 6, 2020.
Worker and student financial health was selected as the focus of the accelerator to help address the unique challenges that impact these groups as they navigate trends such as rapid technology changes, the growth of the gig economy, and increased responsibility for their own financial lives.
New research from the JPMorgan Chase Institute found that the average middle income family needs about $5,000 to cover concurrent income and spending shocks, but has only $2,000, leaving a gap of $3,000. In addition, the Financial Health Network’s 2018 U.S. Financial Health Pulse found that unpredictable income makes individuals 2.5 times less likely to be financially healthy.
“Many American workers cannot access high-quality jobs without additional education, and when pursuing higher education, these workers must simultaneously navigate significant financial health challenges,” said Garry Reeder, VP of Innovation and Policy at the Financial Health Network. “The Financial Solutions Lab is committed to identifying and supporting solutions that empower these workers to improve their financial health even in a world experiencing profound changes to the very definitions of jobs and work.”
Applications will be accepted from start-ups and nonprofits providing innovative fintech solutions that help current and future workers navigate the challenges identified above. The next cohort will be selected in late March 2020. Additional information on the accelerator application process, timeline and more is available here: http://finlab.finhealthnetwork.org/2020-challenge
“Low wages, variable schedules and earnings, and/or gaps in employment benefits contribute to significant economic instability for many working people today,” said Maureen Conway, Vice President for Policy Programs and Executive Director of the Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute. “Strategies that help students and workers improve their financial health can help them build the stability they need to maintain employment, take advantage of training and education opportunities, and access better quality work.”
Each selected organization will receive up to $125,000 in capital in addition to professional services assistance from industry leaders and mentorship from the Financial Health Network and JPMorgan Chase employees.
“Sound financial health is critical to building resilient and prosperous households and communities,” said Colleen Briggs, Head of Community Innovation at JPMorgan Chase. “As we are preparing workers with the skills they need to adapt and succeed in an ever changing world of work, we also need to invest in the tools they need to better manage their financial lives. When workers are financially healthy, it helps them improve productivity and creativity at work, while enabling them to take care of themselves and their families.”
Over the last six years, the Financial Solutions Lab has supported nearly 40 organizations that have served more than 4.5 million consumers, helping them save more than $1 billion. The Financial Solutions Lab is a proven platform for improving the financial health of consumers and recently received renewed support from founding partner JPMorgan Chase. This year’s challenge builds on insights gained from last year’s program which addressed financial health in the workplace by providing innovative workplace financial health and wellness programs.
While last year’s challenge focus was on workplace financial health solutions delivered through the employer channel, this year’s challenge will look more broadly at solutions that support the workforce and may be delivered to students and workers either directly or through intermediaries such as employers, educational institutions, or training programs.