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Finance Innovation Lab announces 17 companies for 2016 fellowship programme

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The Finance Innovation Lab has announced the 17 innovators who have won a place on its 2016 Fellowship programme.

The Fellows, who are building financial businesses that put people and planet first, will take part in a six-month programme of business coaching, action learning and leadership development.

Anna Laycock, lead strategist at the Lab, said: “The 2016 lab fellows all have the potential to have a transformative effect on our financial system. They represent the future of finance – a future in which the needs of the real economy, society and our environment come first.

Going against the grain in finance is lonely, complex and incredibly hard. But it’s not impossible, if we do it together. We’re building a community of change-makers who will accelerate the shift to a truly sustainable and socially useful financial system.”

The 17 companies accepted onto the programme are:

Ample (Josef Wasinski) – Empowers people to engage with their money by removing jargon, giving people simple choices, and providing support through human ingenuity and artificial intelligence.

Bristol Prospects (Steve Clarke) – A ‘mutual credit circle’: a network of local companies that group together to offer each other credit.

Cathartic (Neil Chandler) – A platform designed to allow anyone to express their thoughts, feelings or entire story in complete anonymity, including those with mental health problems. A white label version offers a solution to individuals working within the financial sector who may be reluctant to speak out about wrongdoing within their organisation, for fear of suffering personally as a consequence.

Community Reinvest (Joel Benjamin) – Works with the fossil free divestment movement, NGOs, community energy organisations and civic institutions, such as local authorities and universities, to facilitate divestment from fossil fuels and reinvestment into the local economy.

Crowd Match Fund (Ben Warren) – Aims to create a fund to match investments made by individuals on crowdfunding platforms to Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR)-eligible charities and social enterprises.

Creating a social pensions industry (Simon Rowell) – Aims to establish social pension funds as a new segment of the UK pensions industry, which all pension providers have an obligation to offer and pension savers feel a personal interest to invest in.

Ecosystem Collateral (Simon Petley) – Aims to address the difficulties faced by small land-use enterprises in raising the finance necessary to adopt more sustainable management practices.

Environmental Tracking (Sam Gill) – Links the demand for a company’s shares to its environmental performance, in turn linking a company’s share price to its environmental actions.

Flip Finance (Kat Davis and David Floyd) – A collaborative project born of the efforts of a small group of actors working across the social investment sector and wider social enterprise space in the UK.

Insight Report (Freda Owusu) – An alternative, bottom-up credit reference agency with a vision to enable more people to become financially included through credit scoring.

LendLocal (Julian Lewis) – An online platform allowing individual social investors to refinance Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) and Credit Union (CU) loans.

Low-cost housing, co-ownership and social finance (Johnny Denis) – Will trial a new way of financing and controlling housing to address issues of availability and affordability of rented housing, initially in Lewes District, East Sussex.

Mapping the financial system (Olivia Seddon-Daines) – Will explore the links between finance and the real economy to map and present the financial system via an interactive tool.

Ongeza Fund (Ashley Lewis) – An investment management tool for social ventures and investors active in low liquidity markets.

Rhino Impact Investment (Leonie Kelly and Cecilia Valdes) – Aims to transform conservation financing by offering a new outcomes-based financing mechanism that directs private and public sector funds to improving management effectiveness of rhino populations.