Mastercard launches new initiative to support minority-owned fintech start-ups

Mastercard has launched a new programme dedicated to supporting traditionally underrepresented fintech founders.

The programme, part of the company’s Start Path initiative, aims to give minority-led start-ups access to the support and funding necessary to scale.

Start Path participants will receive direct access to the company’s channels, customers and product teams as well as tools to uncover co-innovation and growth opportunities.

The programme is part of Mastercard’s $500 million In Solidarity commitment

All start-ups will also be paired with a dedicated Start Path sponsor who will work to ensure they receive relevant support, as well as a Mastercard mentor whose expertise matches their business area.

The firm will consider grants or investments in participating start-ups on a case-by-case basis.

The new programming is part of Mastercard’s In Solidarity commitment of $500 million in products, services, technology and financial support to help close the racial wealth and opportunity gap.

“To achieve inclusive growth, which ensures that the benefits of a growing economy extend to all segments of society, people need access to the vital networks that power the modern economy. But access to these physical, virtual and social networks is not equally available,” says Michael Froman, vice chairman and president of strategic growth at Mastercard.

“A remarkably small percentage of venture capital is invested in Black-founded start-ups, and the new Start Path programming track is a critical step in connecting Black entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to launch and expand their start-ups.”

Further support

The programming was informed by insights provided by underrepresented fintech founders, including those of Start Path alumni Goalsetter and Mobility Capital Finance.

Both companies have now received capital investments from Mastercard to help provide financial services to underserved communities with a specific focus on providing tailored digital tools and new payment cards to low-wealth minority and Black communities.

The Start Path programme introduction furthers Mastercard’s efforts to ensure access to capital for underserved entrepreneurs.

This includes investments in venture capital firms and equitable investment organisations including Fearless Fund, CNote, Authentic Ventures and the Astia Fund to ensure minority-led start-ups can access the capital they need to successfully grow their businesses affordably and efficiently.

Mastercard has also partnered with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to expand access to capital and loan relief for underserved communities, with $250 million delivered since 2018.

Related: PayPal invests $135m in financial institutions that support underserved communities

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