Friday, March 22, 2024

Celebrating Digital Champions in the 3rd Digital Financial Inclusion Awards

As digitalization in the business sector remains a major strategy for growth and financial inclusion in the Philippines, the Digital Financial Inclusion Awards (DFIA) returns on its third year to recognize the achievements in digital transformation of the country’s most outstanding microfinance institutions (MFIs) and microentrepreneurs. The financial inclusion awards program is made possible by Citi Foundation, in partnership with the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) and supported by the Bangko ng Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

More than just honoring the excellent efforts of MFIs to adopt digital transformation, the DFIA also aims to highlight efforts on expanding digital financial services to poor households by incorporating digital solutions in the products or services offered. It includes customer-centric solutions, business and technology agility, and product and service innovation, while inspiring other microentrepreneurs and MFIs to embark on their own digitalization journey leading to business growth and livelihood opportunities for many Filipinos.

The program launch was led by BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona Jr., MCPI Chairperson Gilbert Maramba, Citi Philippines CEO Paul Favila, together with the first DFIA Digital Champion on Microentrepreneur Category, Ms. Phoebe Borce.

BSP Governor Remolona said, “Digitalization serves as a bridge that connects the financially underserved segments of the population to providers of formal financial services. It does so in a manner that allows greater efficiency of financial transactions that fuel and accelerate economic growth. Let us therefore build more digital bridges so that everyone may enjoy the benefits of financial inclusion.”  

MFI winners will be chosen based on the types of adopted digital solutions, measurable outcomes on digital solutions, and institutional/client benefits of digitalization. Meanwhile, microentrepreneurs will be nominated by the MFIs based on success stories, types of digital solutions used, and measurable results on digital solutions. The National Selection Committee is composed of representatives from the government, business sector, media, and academia, and is co-chaired by heads of the BSP and Citi Philippines. Four MFIs and fifteen microentrepreneur winners will be selected as digital champions for the third DFIA. 

The program includes learning exchanges and technical assistance for MFIs as part of MCPI’s awareness and readiness campaign. An awarding ceremony will be held to recognize the winners on November 8, 2024.

The winners will be awarded cash incentives (PHP100,000 for each winner) and provided laptops that can be used to enhance their digital financial services program.

“Citi Foundation invests in efforts that increase financial inclusion, economic opportunities for the youth, and develop community solutions because it leads to economic empowerment and opportunities for low-income communities and individuals around the world. With the DFIA, we are able to support the nation’s pursuit of financial inclusion through digitalization. We hope that this will serve as inspiration for the microfinance industry and MSME sector to continue innovating their services for Filipinos and help transform the country into a more financially inclusive and resilient society,” said Citi Philippines CEO Paul Favila.

 “The impact of digitalization is seen everywhere around the world. This transformation not only allowed MFIs to help clients thrive, especially during crucial times, but most importantly, it has helped the institution in bringing more transformative change to businesses and help them succeed in today’s challenging business world,” said MCPI Chairperson Gilbert Maramba.

Aligned with the central bank’s push to promote financial inclusion nationwide, the DFIA program is an evolution of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards that enables Citi Foundation and MCPI to continue raising awareness about the importance of microentrepreneurship and microfinance in supporting digitalization and economic empowerment of low-income individuals.

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