Milan, 26 August 2021 – Experian is working with two non-profit associations - Associazione Microfinanza e Sviluppo ONLUS (AMS) and Associazione MicroLab (MicroLab) – on the IncludiMi project to tackle financial exclusion.
Both partners have extensive experience in managing social education projects for financial inclusion.
The aim of the initiative, which is part of Experian’s United for Financial Health programme, is to enable financial inclusion of vulnerable groups such as NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training), foreign caregivers and women victims of violence, through:
· New credit assessment based on data that once analyzed can contribute to a more correct determination of creditworthiness;
· Strengthening the skills of the population involved on financial education issues;
· Accompaniment/mentoring dedicated to people who intend to improve their conditions of access to credit in a sustainable manner with the objective of becoming economically independent.
A key component of the program is the development of a digital platform (IncludiMi App). The app, supported by a wide-ranging awareness campaign and a financial education program, will allow "invisible" people and those "without a current account" to obtain an assessment of their creditworthiness and to estimate their financial health through the collection of "non-traditional" data.
The use of appropriately designed technological tools will also allow users to draw up and know their personal and family budget and learn how to improve their profile, following tips and suggestions shared in financial education sessions led by experts in the field.
The pandemic, which has affected the whole world, has significantly influenced the access to credit for an increasing number of individuals considered "invisible" by traditional credit institutions.
Among those most affected by this situation of prolonged uncertainty are NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training), foreign caregivers and women victims of violence.
In Italy, NEETs (the inactive, those who do not study, work or follow vocational training) between the ages of 15 and 29 have increased from 22.1% in 2019 to 23.3% in 2020, counting about 2.1 million young people. A category that now represents 23.35% of the young population, much more than the EU average of 13.75% and which, with the continuation of the crisis, continues to grow. The figure becomes worse if we consider that NEETs represent 33% of young people in southern Italy and 24.3% are female.
On the other hand, there are about 2 million caregivers (carers and all those who work in the service of people with disabilities, the elderly, infants and the sick) working in Italy, of which only 40% have a regular contract.
Private care work is a predominantly female activity (90%), carried out mainly by non-Italian women (80%), 54% of whom are over 50 years old. The vast majority do not have a current account and therefore have very limited access to credit, but their ability to save, their established ties within their community and the importance of their contribution to Italian society make it important to support them in the creation of their own financial identity.
During lockdown most of these people lost their regular employment contracts and remained without social security; the fragility and complexity of the Italian welfare system amplifies their condition of vulnerability.
Finally, let's look at the data on women in Italy. Statistics reveal that one in three has suffered some form of gender-based sexual or domestic violence.
The lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic has increased their risk of being exposed to domestic violence.
The National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) indicates a 75% year-over-year increase in calls to anti-violence hotlines during 2020.
In addition, women were found to be the gender most affected by economic and job losses caused by the pandemic, exacerbating an already negative trend.
In 2019, for example, the resignations of female workers who had recently had children increased by 37,611, compared to 35,963 in 2018, according to data from the Labor Inspectorate.
Considering that only 63% of women aged 25-54 are employed, compared to 94% of men in the same age group, the restrictions caused by the pandemic have further reduced their ability to leave abusive partners, their economic-financial independence, and their ability to exit violent situations.
"Improving the financial health of people through data and education is at the heart of Experian’s strategy, it’s how we live our brand promise of powering opportunities to create a better tomorrow," commented Armando Capone, chief commercial officer of Experian Italy.
"With the IncludiMi project, part of Experian’s United for Financial Health Programme, we aim to promote financial education and inclusion. Thanks to the partnerships signed with AMS and MicroLab, we are convinced that we can create value and help vulnerable and underserved consumers sustainably overcome financial difficulties that have emerged in these years of crisis, not least the effects of the pandemic".
"Financial exclusion in Italy continues to be high and affects especially the most vulnerable families and individuals," says Francesco Terreri, president of AMS.
"The crisis we have experienced in recent years, aggravated by the pandemic, has further exacerbated the situation. To promote financial and social inclusion, we need to enhance the resources of the vulnerable and help them build their own financial identity. What is needed, therefore, is first and foremost financial education, to enable people, starting from the foundations of the family budget, to know how to choose and direct their economic and financial choices, present and future. Young unemployed people, caregivers, women victims of violence are among the categories most at risk of exclusion. Some measures taken by the government in recent months, from the microcredit of freedom for victims of violence to the support to personal caregivers - caregivers - are important but not sufficient".
"According to ISTAT data, the categories most affected by the pandemic are young people, women and people of foreign origin in Italy. If we think that more than a quarter of new entrepreneurs with employees are women (29%), and that women are 48% of those working in the knowledge-intensive service sectors, compared to 38% of men, we understand that this category of the population moves the country," said Corrado Ferretti, President of the association MicroLab.
"People of foreign origin are 12.2% owners of companies, a total of 383,462 units and represent, for example, in Tuscany 17.9% of companies. Forgetting about women, young people and foreigners means ignoring that the economy grows thanks to them. Helping them emerge from invisibility through financial services is our responsibility. We are convinced that together with Microfinance and Experian we can have a social impact and support inclusion for Neet, caregivers and women victims of violence."
Notes to editors:
Experian is the world's leading global information services company. At important moments in life - from buying a home or car, to paying for their children's college education to developing their business - we help people manage their data with confidence. We assist individuals to control their finances and access
financial services, businesses to make better decisions, lenders to invest more responsibly, and organizations to prevent crime and fraud.
With 17,800 employees operating in 44 countries, we invest every day in new technologies, advanced skills and innovation to help all our customers maximize every opportunity. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is listed on the FTSE 100 Index. Find out more at www.experian.it.
Associazione Microfinanza e Sviluppo ONLUS (AMS), founded in 2002 with its registered office in Trento, also operates actively from the offices in Vicenza and Milan. It is a non-profit association that promotes financial inclusion projects (microcredit, financial education and support to microenterprises) in Italy and in developing countries, as well as information, training and research initiatives in the field of microfinance and development issues. AMS is committed to removing conditions of exclusion, inequality and poverty in the world and to affirm the right of all people and communities to pursue a dignified life, work and business project, as well as the right to human development in full respect of environmental resources.
The Association has received the official appreciation of the Italian Ministry of the Interior for the outcome of the project cycle that Microfinanza e Sviluppo carried out from 2010 to 2014 on the subject of financial inclusion of migrants and start-up of micro-enterprises of refugees in Italy. Find out more at www. microfinanzaesviluppo.it
MicroLab Association is active since 2003 in social innovation to promote entrepreneurial development through mentoring and training courses, thanks to the National Network of Volunteer Business Mentors. It was born in Turin in 2003 through the first courses to accompany families excluded from traditional banking channels. In 2013 it joins the global network of independent nonprofit organizations called Youth Business International (YBI) and becomes a partner of the Youth Business Europe project, funded by Citi Foundation. MicroLab participates in the European COSME program and organizes workshops for European organizations that support migrant entrepreneurs. In 2020, MicroLab participated in the SOS Mentoring program supported by Google.org to empower entrepreneurs during the Covid-19 crisis through mentoring and training programs.
In 2020, it supported 2400 people in developing self-entrepreneurship in Italy through 60 volunteer mentors and strongly believes that knowledge, network and awareness help to develop healthy businesses in Italy especially for fragile individuals. Find out more at: www.associazionemicrolab.it.