University of Twente, EMN and Qredits selected by the EIB Institute to investigate the potential of technological and financial innovation to increase the efficiency of the inclusive finance sector
The candidature presented jointly by the University of Twente, the European Microfinance Network (EMN) and Qredits has been selected by the European Investment Bank Institute (EIB Institute) who will grant the consortium with the EIBURS sponsorship to carry out research on the theme of ‘Building the future of inclusive finance: the role of Fintechs and digitalisation’. The project will be supported by the Technical University of Berlin, the Nord University, Triodos Bank and Youth Business International.
The Knowledge Programme of the European Investment Bank Institute channels its research grants through different schemes, one of which is the EIBURS, the EIB University Research Sponsorship Programme.
EIBURS provides grants - up to EUR 100 000 per year for a period of three years - to university departments or research centres associated with universities in the EU, candidate, or potential candidate countries that are working on research topics of major interest to the EIB.
For the academic year 2019/2020, the EIBURS programme was seeking proposals on a new research theme: ‘Building the future of inclusive finance: the role of Fintechs and digitalisation’.
While the intensity of the income inequality debate has somewhat receded in recent years, the issue itself is still highly relevant. Persistent and large income disparities threaten the social fabric of European society and require an appropriate policy response.
Inclusive Finance is a policy instrument intended to alleviate poverty and reduce income inequality. This research project aims to investigate the potential of technological and financial innovation to increase the efficiency of the inclusive finance sector which provides financial and non-financial support to vulnerable people.
After the announcement, Michel Ehrenhard, the project’s principal investigator and Associate Professor of Strategic Entrepreneurship at the University of Twente said: “We are very grateful for the granted opportunity to contribute to the future of inclusive finance in Europe – a field that fits seamlessly with the high tech human touch focus of the University of Twente.”
Petra de Weerd-Nederhof, NIKOS department head and professor of Organizing Innovation added: “The EIBURS sponsorship strengthens our research on inclusive business models and social entrepreneurship and resilience in digital societies with our university partners from Germany and Norway, and the industrial support from Qredits, EMN, Triodos and Youth Business International will provide a unique ‘Living Lab’”.
Jorge Ramirez, EMN General Manager, said: “This is great news not only for EMN but also for the European microfinance sector, which is continuously seeking digitalisation solutions to improve their operations in order to maximise their impact.”
Elwin Groenevelt, CEO Qredits, said: “As a social finance institution we are continuously looking for technological innovations that can help us better serve start-up entrepreneurs in a responsible way. The EIBURS programme enables Qredits to delve further into the great opportunities offered by digital innovation.”