MetLife Foundation and Verb announced Apon Wellbeing Ltd. as the winner of the MetLife Foundation Inclusion Plus competition in Bangladesh. The competition was open to entrepreneurs, nonprofits and other social impact organizations focused on addressing the financial health needs of low- to moderate-income people. Standing out among more than 50 entries, Apon Wellbeing Ltd. won the grand prize and received a grant of $50,000.
Apon Wellbeing strives for better health and wellbeing of ready-made garment (RMG) workers by increasing workers real income, providing access to health insurance and creating awareness and access to financial services. The innovative model centers around Apon’s factory and community-based discounted shops where workers can access quality health, hygiene, and nutrition products at a lower price as well as health and life insurance schemes at no additional cost. The platform also offers awareness on these issues.
MetLife Foundation is proud to support this first-of-its-kind innovation competition that supports organizations at the forefront of financial inclusion in Bangladesh. More than 60 MetLife volunteers acted as mentors and judges, providing advice, support and partnership that will help the ventures develop and grow.
“This was a great learning experience for me. We had awesome mentors from MetLife Bangladesh office who walked us through different stages of this competition. Even the grand finale judges, who are industry leaders in their own sectors ranging from finance, innovation, development and IT, have given us a lot of feedback to help us rethink of our project design and how to make them sustainable and effective.”- said the winner, Mr. Saif, Rashi, founder of Apon Wellbeing in his reaction.
ShopUp, in second place, won $25,000. Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd., in third place, took home $12,000 and Shakti Foundation and Sajida Foundation were each awarded $5,000 as runners-up.
As the chief guest, K M Abdus Salam, Director General at NGO Affairs Bureau of Bangladesh said “financial inclusion is important as we are advancing towards a digital Bangladesh. We all know about the MetLife company as a leading life insurer but little did we know about its CSR activities are done through its Foundation. I am pleased to see that MetLife Foundation has been contributing immensely to funding and collaborating with development partners in different countries to ensure the financial well-being of its people. I also congratulate initiatives like Inclusion Plus that I believe, will have a positive impact on the economic empowerment of this country through this innovative venture ideas.”
“It is very encouraging to see how corporate foundations and multinational businesses can partner with social entrepreneurs to fuel innovation and impact. MetLife Foundation and MetLife Bangladesh have come together to demonstrate how competitions can be a powerful engine to help address some of the world’s biggest economic problems,” said Verb Co-Founder and CEO, Suzi Sosa. “We congratulate the winners who have developed a powerful new way to include more people in planning for their financial futures.”