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Nov 22, 2019

My Internship with Bloom Impact

Tuck’s environment has consistently encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone academically, socially, and professionally. This summer, I wanted to explore beyond my local sphere by navigating a new setting that would grant me the opportunity to help businesses become sustainable in other parts of the world. Tuck GIVES enabled me to actualize my dream of working within the African continent.

I worked with Bloom Impact, a fintech startup based in Accra, Ghana. Bloom Impact provides a digital application service that empowers businesses to learn about and access sustainable credit and savings products. By using data driven matching and scoring mechanism, Bloom Impact provides financial service providers with new and qualified customers, particularly micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) business owners. Working with Bloom Impact was a perfect match because it combined my experience in financial services, technology, and development work into one rewarding experience within financial inclusion.

My main workstream was to manage and enhance Bloom’s Impact’s monitoring and evaluation methods, and to help determine key performance indicators. I worked very closely with the CEO and CTO to put in place an investor reporting system. This system included real time data on Bloom’s client demographics and provided key metrics that Bloom uses to re-strategize its mission and shares with investors. I had to become quickly educated on concepts related to microfinance, the MSME industry, and business regulations within Ghana. However, merely researching these topics was not enough to fully grasp how our clients were impacted. In addition to interacting and learning from my team, I also learned from our clients. I visited small business owners and helped them through the digital process to obtain sustainable credit. I was able to further understand the challenges of starting a business in the developing world. For example, securing reliable employees, obtaining a feasible work site, and having proper documentation for eligibility for financing prevent many MSMEs from becoming profitable. The work I did not only helped current and potential investors understand how necessary Bloom Impact is, but also served as a resource for Bloom to enhance its client acquisition strategy.

My second undertaking involved helping the Nigeria market expansion strategy and research. I worked with the CEO and the Business Development Manager in Nigeria to evaluate the market potential and to research prospective banking partners. I devised a category ranking method that included, but was not limited to, reputational strength, certification/licenses, and product offerings. The work I had done helped Bloom Impact select reputable and sustainable financial partners in Nigeria.

I have gained a deep appreciation for fintech organizations and how technology is used to help close gaps in income disparity and social inequality. Despite struggling with “Twi”, the local language, it was a joy to connect and learn from my team and the community. It was fulfilling to help others with the knowledge I obtained throughout my Tuck career. This internship encouraged me to further use my knowledge and privilege to help companies outside of the United States, and become a true global leader.