August 11, 2021 in Fintech, Financial health

Mentoring with Finance Forward Accelerator Programs


Last summer, people around the world reported decreases of income between 30 to 80 percent, as well as decreases in savings. 

The pandemic has highlighted the difference between financial inclusion and financial health. The former is about access to a bank account, the latter is about resiliency, security, and people’s ability to plan for the future. While fintech has been celebrated for its potential to bring about more access to banking and payments, a study supported by MetLife Foundation found that access doesn’t paint the full picture. In Kenya, 82 percent of people had an account, but only 9 percent were financially secure. In the United States, 93 percent had an account, but only 33 percent were secure.

A year later, the economic crisis is still in full swing. There’s never been a greater need for innovation that helps people weather the storm and improve their financial health.

Finance Forward is a multi-year global coalition – led by Village Capital and our founding partners MetLife Foundation and PayPal – to support entrepreneurs building tech-enabled solutions to challenges around financial health.

To date, Finance Forward has supported more than 90 ventures from over 20 countries with over 2,400 hours of direct mentorship, and engagement from 100 MetLife team members, and, in the process, given away more than $600,000 in grants.

Here is what some MetLife Team members had to say about the program:


Carmina Dragomir, General Manager, MetLife Romania: “If you ask me, did I take something that I learned from the program and apply it to my personal and professional life? The answer is definitely yes!” 

Francisco Espinoza, Chief Financial Officer for MetLife Brazil: “Mentoring at a Finance Forward program was very exciting for me! It provided me a space to not only share my knowledge of the sector but also learn more about fintechs operating in the region.”

Nalleli García, MetLife Mexico Foundation and CSR Manager: “I learned a lot from both the entrepreneurs and the others mentors in the room. I see value in working with entrepreneurs who are solving problems of not only today but also the future.”

Tina Verdon Layno, Assistant Vice President, MetLife: “All of my colleagues at MetLife bring something to the table. You bring experience in operations, risk management, or actuarial experience that gives a different focus to discussions with startup founders.” 

Sarah Sachse-Pasqua, Assistant Vice President, MetLife: “Hearing perspectives from other mentors really pushed my thinking in other areas as well. My goal was to really help the startups but I got so much more from the dialogue between the founders and the mentors.”

Gustavo Solorio, Head of Competitive Intelligence, MetLife Mexico: “[Participating] in Finance Forward allowed me the opportunity to work closely with startups. Being around the startups and the innovations they are working on provides a spark, a bit of innovation, to the work that I am doing at MetLife.”


Entrepreneurs and investors: want to get involved in Village Capital’s network of financial health solutions? Our matching platform, Abaca, has a network of more than 6,000 entrepreneurs and investors. Get started on Abaca for free today.

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