Mastercard empowers small businesses through award-winning Start Path program

October 14, 2022

Startups to collaborate with Mastercard to scale solutions that drive simple, secure digital experiences for SMEs globally

Mastercard is expanding its commitment to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a new program in its award-winning global startup engagement program, Start Path, specifically tailored to companies supporting the digital needs of SMEs. The startups that will be selected for the Start Path Small Business program will demonstrate strong synergies with Mastercard’s approach to helping entrepreneurs around the world grow and thrive by empowering them with digital payment solutions, data insights, and innovative tools to run their enterprises more efficiently and securely.

“With SMEs accounting for 90 percent of all global businesses and representing $50 trillion in annual spend, it’s critical that we collaborate to address their diverse challenges and different priorities across industries and regions,” said Sabrina Tharani, vice president, Global Startup & Venture Partnerships at Mastercard. “Collaboration is in our DNA, and we are seeking startups to join the Start Path Small Business program that are finding innovative ways to address critical SME needs – from making and receiving payments, getting access to working capital, digitizing their business, acquiring customers, and maintaining data that is accessible, safe and secure.”

The Start Path Small Business program welcomes startups that are innovating across a range of digital services for SMEs, including accounting software, ecommerce solutions, lending platforms, payment technologies, digital banking and more. During the four-month program, startups will have the opportunity to leverage Mastercard’s network and SME expertise to uncover product partnerships, scale their companies, and power solutions that drive safe, secure and simple experiences. Each company will receive bespoke access to Mastercard’s customers and partners along with curated programming and a dedicated mentor who will help them identify and uncover collaboration opportunities. They will also have opportunities for technology collaboration and forums to pitch their solutions to prospects.

Interested startups can now apply for the Mastercard Start Path Small Business program here.

Scaling SME Innovation Beyond Start Path

Mastercard has built strong relationships with many innovative SME alumni of Start Path – including Aper, Finpro, Lendio, MO Technologies, upSWOT and vcita – that have each gone on to co-create timely and relevant solutions to support the SME cardholder lifecycle and beyond:

  • Aper: Building marketplace and e-commerce experiences for financial institutions to help them remain digitally relevant while fostering safe, easy and fast shopping for consumers
  • Finpro: Assisting SMEs in forecasting their financials, collaborating, and achieving company objectives through real-time analytics and dashboards
  • Lendio: Helping business owners find and manage the working capital they need to grow their operations – offering a unique way to apply for financing through Mastercard Digital Doors; leveraging Mastercard’s open banking platform to authenticate bank statements and reduce the risk of fraud
  • MO Technologies: Enabling companies to launch their credit operations at a laser speed through cutting-edge products
  • upSWOT: Providing software that analyzes key data and behaviors and offers real-time forecasting capabilities and relevant recommendations to help SMEs proactively manage and mitigate cash flow challenges
  • vcita: Creating an open platform that enables solution and service providers to deliver a full suite of business management and learning tools that empower SMEs to digitize business operations

Mastercard has engaged with more than 350 startups representing more than 40 countries through Start Path since 2014. Today, many of these companies are entering the public market, reaching unicorn status, and pursuing extended commercial engagements with Mastercard and its customers as well as with other key partners. The SME startups that will be handpicked for the Start Path Small Business program will march with Mastercard toward a shared vision of empowering every business.

Mastercard Invests in Access at Money20/20 USA (October 23, Las Vegas)

Mastercard will be a sponsor of America’s Got Access, a new startup competition focused on doing well by doing good at Money20/20 on October 23. Sherri Haymond, executive vice president, Global Digital Partnerships at Mastercard, will serve on the judging panel to review the live pitches from the top 4-5 startups in the competition. In addition to the grand prize of a free pass to Money20/20 and $100,000, the winner can look forward to receiving surprise resources from the Mastercard Start Path program.

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About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.