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E2E 100 partner Experian’s Ashley Somerville on empowering communities and creating future opportunities

ByTeam BB

Apr 25, 2023

On the heels of a tumultuous few years, we are now entering a new age for global technology. The huge scientific breakthroughs made to combat Covid-19, and the enormous effort from organisations around the world to develop and deploy both the vaccine and the resources required to support the immense economic and logistical shocks of a world in lockdown, are here to stay.

However, the legacy of the last few years is much broader than that. It has also brought an enormous acceleration in the shift to digital business, an increased focus on the importance of local communities and support networks and a growing understanding of new skills needed to engage with and harness the full potential of the digital world.

Technology can empower people; it can support the vulnerable; it can help rebuild our economy and develop new solutions and concepts that not only solve problems but create new opportunities for people, for business, and for the future of our society. We have an opportunity to reset, to create our own framework for success; to decide what we want to be. And we have the talent, the drive, and the ambition in Britain to take our place as an international leader.

Working together, industry and Government can create an environment where technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship flourish. Fixing the gaps in people’s experiences; reaching those who are experiencing difficulties or challenges; creating opportunity and overcoming challenge.

Around the world, Experian is focused on increasing access to financial services, improving financial literacy and building consumer confidence so that people can take control of their financial health.

Over the last decade, Experian’s Social Innovation Programme has built and recognised products that will have a positive impact on the financial health of consumers around the world. Between 2013 and April 2021 Experian has invested over US$8m across 29 product ideas. Eighteen of those products have launched, reaching 61 million people, many of whom are from financially vulnerable backgrounds.

The latest example of this is a ground-breaking initiative aimed at helping people in the UK with little or no credit history – the so called ‘credit invisibles’ – build out their credit files in as little as three months, for free. This new service, which will be piloted later this year, aims to help those who been unable to access mainstream finance to build their credit file in a simple, straightforward way.

This service could be a game-changer, and comes at a time when many people continue to be financially strained due to high inflation and the cost of living.

There is an opportunity and a responsibility to use every resource at our disposal, including technology, to limit that impact where we can, whether that’s using artificial intelligence and machine learning to deploy resources where they are most needed; reducing the number of credit-invisible people to combatting loan sharks; preventing fraud and supporting those who fall victim to fraudsters; or working together as industry leaders to create new solutions to the problems people are facing.

It would be easy to look ahead and see only the problems. But there is opportunity, too. The brave, resilient and innovative spirit that carried us through Coronavirus is still here. The tools we used to combat it are in our hands. It’s time to set them to the challenge ahead.

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