FROM THE BLOG

Companies selected for Wayra Fair By Design programme

Wayra UK is delighted to announce the first cohort of companies selected to join the Wayra Fair By Design accelerator.

The start-ups are:

GLOBAL-365 – Decreasing the cost of pre-payments for gas, electricity and heating and in doing so simplifying the process and methods of top-up making. SMARTprepay is the first system with the technology and sophistication to finally offer price parity between prepayment and credit customers.

JobSkilla – A tool that helps unemployed people find free skills training, and connect training organisations to candidates in deprived areas.

We Are Digital – A project to help people to manage their finances, find the best deals and provide training for financial management.

Bean – A platform for consumers to understand their spending on recurring payments. Helping people save money and cancel unwanted subscriptions or re-negotiate lower fees on everyday bills.

Credit Kudos – Credit Kudos gathers information using your online banking to determine your suitability when applying for financial products. Credit Kudos aims to make credit scoring fair and transparent.

Wayra Fair By Design is run by Wayra UK at our state-of-the-art Open Future_ North facility in Oldham. Start-ups accepted to the programme receive approximately £70,000 in cash and services, including bespoke support from world-class investors, mentors and coaches; opportunities to work with Telefónica and its partners; and full access to working space at Open Future_ North.

Wayra Fair by Design will be funded and supported by the Fair By Design Fund, a partnership between Big Society Capital, the Joseph Rowntree FoundationFinance Birmingham and Ascension Ventures.

The fund, which launched at a November 2017 event in London, is seeking to raise up to £20 million to invest into companies tackling the poverty premium, both within the accelerator and in separate investments across the UK.

The programme will accelerate start-ups focused on different aspects of alleviating the poverty premium, which affects up to one-fifth of the UK’s population, according to Joseph Rowntree Foundation research.

The poverty premium is the problem that poor people pay more for some goods and services than other sectors of society.

For example, people in low-income households can be reliant on expensive, high-interest payday or doorstep loans because of a lack of assets, lack of information to generate a credit score, or a poor credit rating. Start-ups developing solutions that open up more affordable credit options would be ideal candidates for the accelerator programme.

A 2016 report by the University of Bristol revealed that the poverty premium paid by low-income families is, on average, £490 per year – enough for a family holiday, children’s clothes and shoes, or keeping a house warm in winter.

Gary Stewart, Director of Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ UK, said: “It’s no longer good enough to expect government or charities to solve all of our problems. The UK’s future will depend on finding partnerships like this one that empower start-ups to do good, while doing well.”

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