Deadline: 11 November 2015
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is currently accepting ideas/proposals for its 16th round of Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE). Under this challenge, proposals are saught “Exploring New Ways to Measure Delivery and Use of Digital Financial Services Data.”
The Foundation believes that access to digital financial services is fundamental to enable poor people to become more economically stable, prosperous and resilient. Digital financial services – payments, credit, savings and insurance offered through mobile phones or other technology – are reaching millions of people around the world that have never been reached before. Despite their promise however, digital financial services are still not reaching the bulk of the world’s unbanked poor.
Ideas are invited for the challenge– To develop a low cost and reliable technological solution to capture relevant data relating to the delivery and use of digital financial services in developing countries that is an order of magnitude lower cost, faster, higher quality, greater transparency/auditability and more reliable than existing approaches which often rely on paper based surveys or in person data collection. Requested solution areas include:
- Service Delievery location placement and management
- User segmentation and credit scoring
- Insurance and weather indexing applications
- Fraud detection solutions
Successful applicants will fall into the category of devices, software, algorithms, or business models, including:
- New analytics approaches tailored to the context of financial services to very poor populations in the developing world
- New approaches to the above challenges that leverage new forms of digital data that were not previously available or leverageable (e.g. mobile CDR, smart phone data)
- Novel use of satellite data or other remote sensing technology related to digital financial service implementation (e.g. market intelligence, agent coverage and activity, credit risk management, weather data for index insurance);
- Technologies that facilitate fraud detection and mitigation in the context of financial services to very poor popluations in the developing world;
- Applications that provide incentives to low income consumers to engage with or use financial services in ways that contribute to client welfare (e.g. through personal money management applications or “gamification”)
Winning Proposals must:
- Identify the data it proposes to capture and explain how such data can be used, by what stakeholders, and the anticipated impact the data will yield.
- Describe how personally identifiable information will be protected if a proposal involves the collection of such information, e.g., the collection of data from households and individuals.
- For solutions that rely on mobile technology, the proposal must demonstrate an understanding of the cellular infrastructure in the targeted geographical area, and propose solutions that do not require connectivity beyond the current system. For example, solutions cannot assume that most people have smartphones or that connectivity is fully reliable in rural areas of Africa or South Asia.
- Set forth a clear hypothesis and an associated plan for how the hypothesis would be tested or validated if funded to demonstrate the expected improvements in speed, cost, accuracy, etc. against existing alternative collection approaches.
- Explain how the proposal would be sustainable and scalable in the developing world context (solutions developed for South Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa will have priority).
- Explain how the proposed project will demonstrate and assure data validity, quality, and representation of the relevant population.
Ideas NOT considered for funding:
- Basic methodologies or approaches without clear relevance to the Challenge.
- Proposals that do not include a plan for measuring and demonstrating to the foundation the improvement in performance.
- Proposals that would not work in developing country contexts (especially rural).
- Proposals that are highly dependent on permissions to obtain data that are not likely to be granted in a commercial context
- Proposals that do not address the target population (especially women, girls, and populations living on less than $2 a day).
- The development of technical solutions that will provide only modest or incremental improvements in financial inclusion and/or provide benefit in non-strategic populations.
- Proposals that lack a hypothesis or an innovation that can be tested, at least in part, during the initial round of the call for proposals.
- Automation of existing tools without a clear advantage in cost or reach into rural, poor and underdeveloped areas.
- Minor or low-impact improvements to existing approaches.
For more information, please visit Grand Challenge 16 on Financial Data.