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Brady’s First Time at OSCON

For those of you whom I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, my name is Braden McDarment. I am a junior at the University of Washington, Seattle campus, studying Political Economy and Economics.

Just a few weeks ago Ed Cable, James Dailey, and I drove down to Portland for the 20th anniversary of OSCON! The event was hosted at the Oregon Convention Center, where it will be held again next year. At the end of each event day I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with many renowned individuals of the open source community.

During the day Ed and I manned the Mifos Initiative booth. At the booth we informed attendees about our mission and how we go about tackling financial inclusion. The attendees asked several keen questions and were eager to learn more about how they could help our community grow. The discussions helped me broaden my knowledge about Mifos and the open source community.

Many of the attendees we talked to expressed interest in volunteering after learning more, and some even wanted to join the Open Source Fintech Force by donating to Mifos. You can also join the Open Source Fintech Force by donating today! Without your support Mifos won’t be able to reach the millions of people in desperate need of access to financial services. Click the link below to be a supporter.

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Also at OSCON, I had the chance to attend a few of the talks. The subjects varied from blockchain to open banking. One talk that stood out to me was “Cloud-native Open Source on the Blockchain for Financial Inclusion” by Myrle Krantz. She is the VP of Apache Fineract and has been passionate about financial inclusion ever since she worked at Mifos. She spoke about how 10% of humanity lives on less than $1.90 a day, and how 2 billion people worldwide don’t have access to financial services. Mrs. Krantz discussed how Apache Fineract CN makes it easy for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to be more efficient and successful. Because many MFIs don’t want to host their own database, Apache Fineract CN is a perfect solution to this dilemma. I’m excited to see the impact Apache Fineract has on the world in the coming years.

Ed and James also led a discussion called “Open Banking: Fueling Innovation on an Open Source Core Banking Platform”. I recommend you can take a look at their slides here.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at OSCON. Being able to meet people at the other booths, as well as at our own, taught me a significant amount about open source and its community. I want to say thank you to O’Reilly Media, Inc. for putting on the event and to the attendees who expressed interest in helping the Mifos Initiative in the future. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.

Cheers!

Summiting the Silicon Mountain in Cameroon

ayukThis a guest post from Ayuk Etta Akum, the CEO and Founder of Skylabase which is an IT Company in Cameroon, Africa that provides technologies for financial inclusion.

A year ago, I discovered financial inclusion, the movement to end poverty in the world. Then I decided to build my company on this movement. The beauty of financial inclusion is the ability to make a very large change in the world in a very critical sector with the least technology possible. For us to embark on this journey we needed years of experience from experts and key players in this movement and we discovered this in the Mifos Initiative, a key player in the world today for the financial inclusion movement. They opened to us a door of experience to meet people with over 50 years experience in the credit union movement, finance experts, banking experts, and a complete banking engine to start from.

The hard part was for us to be open and join the movement by seriously engaging in the community, and from this came Smartfinance which is a centralized and extendable banking platform for credit unions, microfinance institutions, and banks. Our goal and vision of smartfinance is for it to be the microfinance platform for Cameroon and CEMAC region of Africa and ultimately move across Africa. Our partnership with the Mifos Initiative helped us to come out with a platform that will be the future of finance management in Cameroon and the CEMAC region in Africa. We are integrating into this platform mobile money, money transfer, USSD connectors, all the features to make Smartfinance a full-fledged banking platform while giving back to the Mifos Initiative community. Read more

Three Countries. Three Conferences. One Common Theme.

Now that the team has safely returned from travel to our three events – our presence at each one has confirmed that our next generation Mifos architecture is the right solution that is needed to guide the world towards Financial Inclusion 2.0. Each stakeholder is ready for this new era – partners building solutions, financial service providers needing greater efficiency to reach their clients, regulators seeking stability and control, and investors seeking transparency and impact.

At TechDays in Amsterdam, the need for the 3rd Generation of Mifos was confirmed by partners new and old. The growth of our partners like Musoni Services and Conflux Technologies showed that they’re reaching a critical point of scale where a new lightweight, cloud-native, and highly scalable architecture is needed. The direct presence of brand new partners confirmed that we are the innovation that powers innovators and that each day new partners are coming our way to build apps that are mobile-first and cloud-enabled.

At the 18th Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi, we confirmed the opportunity to set a standard for innovation and be the driving force behind Financial Inclusion 2.0.  The entire industry as a whole is aligning for this to be a reality – financial inclusion providers are ready to go digital and recognize its benefits, national regulators are fostering and advancing an enabling ecosystem, and the technology has evolved with unparalleled computing power available at low cost.

At the Global Microfinance Forum in Berlin, the focus was on investors but they all echoed the pain we’re addressing: costs are too high, access is too hard, innovation is too slow and change is needed. When they gave case studies on examples of successful innovation, they highlighted Musoni Services, one of our gold platform partners that is powered by Mifos X. Meeting these investors and apex organizations was great validation that we are the innovation that powers the innovators.

Craig and Markus will be providing more detailed recaps of our TechDays and the Global Microfinance Forum so I’ll give a more detailed recap on the Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi. Read more

Mifos at the Microcredit Summit for the First Time

Mifos Initiative is honored to be a part of the 18th Microcredit Summit in Abu Dhabi. With its theme of Frontier Innovations for Financial Inclusion, it was the perfect time for us to attend and tell the world our story and journey of transformation since we emerged from the Grameen Foundation. We have been a technology pioneer for microfinance, then financial inclusion, and how will the lead way for Financial Inclusion 2.0.

This is personally my first time at a Microcredit Summit event and of course the venue, the Etihad Towers at Jumeirah is impressive but the buzz and energy of 1000 delegates from 60 different countries is indescribable. Read more

Banking Reinvented – Open, Cloud & Mobile

Video from James Dailey’s talk at FinDEVr is now live. Watch his invigorating talk on using the Mifos X open technology platform to bring financial services to the 4 Billion underbanked worldwide. We’re helping financial innovators deliver banking as a service in the cloud and via mobile devices. For full details, see our page on the Finovate website and James’ blog from the event.

 

Talking about Financial Inclusion to Financial Innovators at FinDEVr

James Dailey, board member and Chief Innovation Officer for the Mifos Initiative, spent this week at FinDEVr San Francisco with Vishwas introducing the Mifos X platform to the world of fin-tech innovators. 
This week was terrific. I was able to geek out about financial inclusion for hours, give a presentation about the powerful Platform that the Mifos team has built, learn what other tech is up and coming, and share the narrative of why Mifos as a rallying concept – open source, open APIs, cloud, mobile – is so important for building the financial services that people everywhere deserve.
The FinDEVr conference at UC San Francisco Conference Center was not the typical conference for Mifos. Attendees were representing some of the largest payment networks (Visa, Mastercard, Paypal) and their development efforts were focused on use cases that are quite removed from the world of microfinance or building the basic payment networks in emerging markets.

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