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ThitsaWorks Hosts Fintech Workshop for Myanmar

The following is a guest post from May Thu Myint, Communications Officer of ThitsaWorks, Inc. I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at their workshop which was attended by more than 160 individuals and 17 different media outlets!

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On Monday March 13, ThitsaWorks held an event in Yangon titled ‘Fintech for Myanmar’s Financial Sector: How to Grow and Manage Risk in Microfinance by Leveraging Technologies’. Held at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), the event was well attended and brought together people from the microfinance and banking sector of Myanmar, technology providers and media. The opening remarks were given by Dr. Maung Maung Lay, the vice-President of UMFCCI.

Then Nyi Nyein Aye, the CEO of ThitsaWorks, gave a presentation on ThitsaWorks, as well as the microfinance landscape in Myanmar. According to Nyi, with a high mobile penetration rate and 70% of population living in rural area in Myanmar, digital financial services are key to financial inclusion. The estimates show that the demand for credit is four times that of current supply and there is a huge potential for MFIs to grow.

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Paul Maritz

Amazon Vs. Open Source

“We strongly believe that the world needs a mechanism to write cloud applications. We don’t want the cloud to be like the bad old days of the mainframe computer. There’s potentially some tension between  people who want the cloud to be closed and proprietary and folks like us who want it to be an option for developers to write cloud applications. History teaches us that every time there’s a major wave of technology and a major new category or platform, then new players emerge. The world went from the mainframe computer, in which IBM was the big winner, to the PC and productivity software, where Microsoft and Oracle were the big winners. Now, we’re going to the cloud as a new category and platform. We know that Amazon is a big winner there but it operates a closed platform and history teaches us that in every major shift, there’s at least one closed winner and at least one open winner. We know that the closed winner is going to be Amazon but we don’t know yet who the open winner is going to be.”

Check out what else Paul Maritz, Executive Chairman of Pivotal and Mifos Chairman of the Board has to say about the future of Open Source and cloud computing in the Forbes article:

Paul Maritz’s Vision For Pivotal And The Battle With Amazon Over Open Source Cloud Computing

-Jacob Kobzi, Business Development Intern

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Mifos in Indonesia

Hello Mifos Community!

This past week, the Indonesia Fintech Festival and Conference 2016 took place in Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia. The conference is a joint event between the Financial Services Authority (OJK) and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin). Although the conference is based on fintech, there was a special focus on Financial Inclusion this year, as technology continues to transform Financial Inclusion.

The conference was two days and covered topics including “Improving Financial Inclusion Through Fintech”, “Accelerate Financial Sector With Fintech”, “Digital Currencies”, and many more.

Mifos had an exciting presence at the Indonesia Fintech Festival and Conference this year.

Steven Hodgson, Director of Kanopi, was present at the conference. Kanopi has been a partner with Mifos for a long time and is working on deploying the Mifos platform within Indonesia.

Mifos was also present through BTPN. BTPN is a financial institution in Indonesia that has been using Mifos since we were a project with the Grameen Foundation (roughly 5 years ago). They are still using Mifos and have around 2 million clients processing around 630,000 transactions per day.

In a country with significant mobile adoption and devotion to financial technology, there is a great opportunity to reach the unbanked. It’s amazing to see the Mifos community come together like it has in Indonesia, joining partners, financial institutions, and ordinary people together to promote Financial Inclusion for everybody.

 
-Jacob Kobzi, Business Development Intern

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Friday in Ecuador

Friday, July 15th, 2016

IMG_0332After a week of work, the Mifos Innovation team has seen it’s last day in Ecuador.

The team met with the Dinero Electronico team in order to discuss regulations. Dinero Electronico saw eye-to-eye on the prospect of providing nano loans as a financial service. They also directed us to the right people to talk to next.

That was the last meeting for the team’s week in Ecuador. The Mifos Initiative is extremely excited for what the future holds and we are looking forward to making the vision of Financial Inclusion 2.0 a reality.

-Jacob Kobzi, Business Development Intern

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Thursday in Ecuador

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

The week is almost over but the Mifos Innovation team is still hard at work in Ecuador.

The day started with the Innovation Team meeting with an organization that oversees a network of cooperatives. The biggest takeaway from the meeting is that the organization sees the value that the MifoIMG_0404s Financial Inclusion Cloud can bring to their network of financial institutions.

Then, the team met with the IT director from CONAFIPS, an organization responsible for providing support to cooperatives. They put us in contact with some of their cooperatives so that we can discuss our future with the financial institutions directly.

The team then met with Banco Desarrollo to discuss value-chain financing and nano loans further. The team also talked briefly about the integration of accounting services in the Mifos platform. Although it is going to take a little longer to get specific details out of the way, the team is working through the complexities to make the vision of Financial Inclusion 2.0 a reality.

Luisa, a member of the Innovation Team, will officially be traveling to Pindal, Ecuador to observe the entire value-chain financing production. On Monday, she will be meeting with a cooperative to clarify the best configuration of the core banking system to match their needs. She will also be interviewed at Impacto about the Electronic Money System. Javier had two more interviews today, one on TV and the other on the radio.

Tomorrow will be the last day for the Mifos Innovation Team on this week-long trip to Ecuador and we look forward to telling you all about it.

-Jacob Kobzi, Business Development Intern

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Wednesday in Ecuador

Wednesday, July 14, 2016

The Mifos Innovation Team has finished their 3rd day of work in their trip to Ecuador. Javier started Wednesday off strong with yet another interview on TV. He discussed the benefits that Electronic Money can have on Financial Inclusion. He also discussed the integration of mobile money within the Mifos Platform.

The team then joined with one of our technology partners and met with the leading social-m2016-07-14-PHOTO-00000062ission bank in Ecuador. The team met for two hours discussing the Mifos operational model and giving demos of how the system will function. The leadership within the bank is eager to move forward with the Mifos Financial Inclusion Cloud!

Before the day was over, the team joined the audience of about 200 youth to listen to one of our team members, Luisa, give a talk. Luisa was talking on behalf of an organization called Global Shapers, and sharing her story to inspire others to create opportunities for themselves. Luisa’s talk was very inspiring, and a fantastic way to end the third day of the trip!

-Jacob Kobzi, Business Development Intern

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Tuesday in Ecuador

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

The Mifos innovation team saw no lack of action on their second day in Ecuador. After a busy first day, they got right back to work with multiple meetings and interviews scheduled for day 2.
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Javier started the day off presenting to SEPS, a regulator for cooperatives. The members of SEPS were very intrigued by our operational model. Then it was on to the next meeting with Banco Desarrollo to discuss some specifics on how our model is going to tie in perfectly with their financial organizations and cooperatives in place. In particular, our team discussed how nano loans and value-chain financing was going to work with our platform.

Javier had to leave the meeting with Banco Desarrollo early, since he had scheduled interviews he had to attend. He had two interviews on live television and another on the radio with FM Mundo 98.1. You can see Javier in the photo to the right in the middle of his interview!

Soon enough, it was time f20160712_195945or the Mifos Innovation Team to regather and meet with the Ministry of Economic Policy. They met with two high government officials who in turn put us in contact with dozens of other valuable individuals. After talking with them briefly about mobile wallets, the team was off to meet with Level 3, a worldwide provider of data centers. Our team was astounded by the coverage of the data centers and is happy to partner with them to launch the Mifos Financial Inclusion Cloud in Ecuador.

The end of the day came after another brief meeting with IOU Fintech. The team has found that the excitement in Ecuador is contagious. Everyone is on board and ready to announce Financial Inclusion 2.0 in Ecuador. We’ll keep you updated on all that happens in the coming days!

-Jacob Kobzi, Business Development Intern

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Monday in Ecuador

Monday, 11 July 2016

The Mifos Innovation team of  Ed Cable, Javier Borkenztain, and Luisa Martínez,  landed in Ecuador today for an exciting week of work. Right off the bat, the team had their schedule booked. To start the day, they met with Carlos Córdova from IOU Fintech to be introduced to his team as  well as briefed for tomorrow’s mCnG1fDOW8AAk_fveeting. Carlos can be seen in the picture to the right presenting his plan for emoney in Ecuador.

After a short break, the team then had two meetings with the Central Bank of Ecuador, one with their technical team and the other with their public relations team.

Finally, the innovation team regrouped at Impacto, the social impact hub for Ecuador. Impacto has doubled in size since the last time the Mifos team visited Ecuador!

Long story short, the process of bringing Financial Inclusion 2.0 to Ecuador has began, yet there is so much more to come. In the following days, Javier, a member of our innovation team, has 8 interviews scheduled about the Mifos Financial Inclusion Cloud. He has 2 on TV, 1 on the radio, and one with the newspaper just tomorrow. There is still much more to be done and we look forward to filling you in with what happens each day of our trip.

-Jacob Kobzi, Business Development Intern

Mifos Events Round-Up

This summer has been a busy one as Mifos team members have travelled around the country educating various sectors on the powerful opportunity to eliminate global poverty through open source technology solutions for financial inclusion. While the audiences have been diverse, ranging from open source developers to credit union executives to FinTech innovators, the message is the same: join our global collaborative community and help us in our mission to bring financial services to the 2 Billion Unbanked.

We wanted to take a quick look back at the conferences we’ve been at and a couple more we’ll be speaking at this upcoming month.

  • SOCAP 15 – San Francisco, CA (coming up!)
  • FinDEVr SF 2015 – San Francisco, CA (coming up!)
  • SpringOne2GX – Washington, DC
  • FinovateFall 2015 – NYC, NY
  • 2015 World Credit Union Conference – Denver, CO
  • OSCON 2015 – Portland, OR

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