Empowering small businesses for a digital future

Small businesses are engines of economic growth and the key to an inclusive recovery. Yet many are struggling to adapt to rapid digital transformation in the wake of the pandemic. Strive Community, a global initiative launched by Caribou Digital and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, will equip five million small business owners with innovative digital solutions that unleash their potential as catalysts of inclusive growth.

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Supporting small business resilience and growth in a changing digital economy

Digital transformation has created new challenges and opportunities for small businesses around the world. It has also fundamentally changed the landscape of players pivotal to their growth - digital platforms, super apps, fintechs and others now play a key role. This program unites these organizations as the Strive Community, with philanthropic support from the Mastercard Impact Fund.

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Our Approach

Strive Community brings together expertise across business, technology, research and government to develop solutions that enable small businesses to save time and make more money by going digital across three areas.

Business Operations

Supporting small businesses to become more efficient by digitizing time-consuming processes like bookkeeping, inventory tracking, scheduling, and client management.

Financial Services

Enabling small businesses to meaningfully use digital financial services, such as digital payments, business bank accounts, insurance, and financing, to promote their growth.

Market Participation

Facilitating more effective and efficient participation of small businesses in digital marketplaces, so that they can reach more customers and sell to new markets.

Small Business Programs

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Learning journeys customized to small business needs

Going digital can be overwhelming. There are so many tools available and it can be hard to know where to start - bookkeeping, inventory management, marketing? This project helps business owners identify which areas of digitization could have the most impact, and connects them with the tools most suited to their business type and stage.

Countries: Germany, Poland, UK

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Fostering effective business networks

Providing robust, real-time advice is a valuable way to help small business owners navigate the many operational and strategic decisions they face. Through a digital platform, microentrepreneurs connect with mid-career professionals who share their expertise and help solve everyday business challenges. Small business owners also have access to digital toolkits and video tutorials to supplement mentor support.

Implementation: Mercy Corps

Countries: Indonesia


Chatbot and role model mentorship for micro-retailers

A personalized, interactive WhatsApp chatbot will provide micro-retailers with practical tips and tools as they digitize operations and access credit, in some cases for the first time. They’ll be connected with a thriving 7 million strong community of peers and mentors to encourage them on this journey.

Countries: Kenya, Nigeria

Man working at a coffee shop wearing a facemask


Tools and nudges to foster digital adoption and usage

Family-run businesses serve local needs, but are often hindered by low productivity and a lack of integration into larger value chains. This project brings together small business aggregators, financial institutions and fintechs to equip local shops with a suite of digital tools and training to boost productivity and improve financial resilience.

Implementation: Fundación Capital

Strategic partners: Aliança Empreendedora

Countries: Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru

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Growing a successful e-commerce business

COVID-19 forced many small businesses to sell online, but not all were prepared for going digital. Many are struggling to stand out from the competition to grow resilient and profitable online businesses. This interactive mobile-first training links to tools that help merchants optimize their social commerce and e-commerce businesses.

Implementation: TechnoServe

When small businesses thrive our local communities and economies thrive, but when they struggle, the impact is widespread. What small business owners need right now are partners who will listen to them and develop innovative solutions that will help them grow in the wake of the pandemic. It comes down to an investment in making their success our success. That’s what makes programs like Strive so critical today and tomorrow.

Michael Miebach

CEO, Mastercard

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