Mastercard is in development on a new initiative to support small business owners globally with personalized guidance to help them grow and thrive. Acknowledging the crucial contribution of small businesses to the worldwide economy—and the incredible impact of mentorship to their success—the company is piloting Mastercard Small Business AI, an inclusive Artificial Intelligence tool that delivers customized assistance for all small business owners, anytime, anywhere, as they navigate their unique and varied business hurdles.
Today’s influx of data can be overwhelming and while modern businesses face a compelling need to adapt, enhance their skills, and keep pace with changing consumer demands, time is often not on their side. Given that eight out of ten small businesses operate without employees (1) and 88% acknowledge the immense value of having a mentor (2), resource-strapped entrepreneurs are seeking solutions that get straight to the heart of their needs.
“Operating a small business is a point of immense passion and pride for entrepreneurs, but it’s certainly not easy. We are working closely with small business owners at all stages of development and seeing the myriad of challenges they face and the critical importance of mentorship to their success,” said Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar. “Mastercard Small Business AI aims to create mentorship at scale, offering always-on advice from an inclusive set of sources. This is a testament to our commitment to the small business community and to innovations that lift people up.”
Catalyzing AI transformation through partnerships
In partnership with Create Labs, a social venture offering technology access to underserved communities, the tool is being crafted to limit biases and cater to diverse entrepreneurial needs. This innovative tool incorporates cutting-edge Generative AI features to offer a conversational experience, drawing on emerging techniques and inclusive design standards to promote a relevant user journey.
The Generative AI tool being created by Mastercard and Create Labs will be responsibly built on diverse and inclusive content. Not only will the AI tool deliver data from Mastercard’s existing repository of content – from the Small Business Community, Digital Doors, Mastercard Trust Center, Strive USA, and elsewhere – a newly formed global media coalition will contribute to that by licensing their business content—such as articles, podcasts and interviews. The following are slated to be the inaugural participants:
- Blavity Media Group, a digital media company with a mission to economically and creatively support Black millennials.
- Group Black, a Black-owned media company dedicated to connecting brands with diverse audiences. The group’s collective includes Pod Digital Media, Black Women Talk Tech, ReachTV.
- Newsweek, the modern global digital news organization built around the iconic 90-year-old American magazine.
- TelevisaUnivision, the world’s leading Spanish-language media company, reaching over 53 million U.S. consumers across linear and digital platforms.
The tool is scheduled to be piloted in the U.S. later this year, with the goal for international markets to follow. Mastercard plans to have additional partners join worldwide to drive critical local relevance as the tool expands globally
“Uniting for a common goal of inclusivity holds incredible power. Through collaboration, we are looking to combine diverse resources to enhance a tool designed for all small-and medium-sized business owners. Our hope is that these collective efforts shape a more equitable world for future generations, reducing the exclusion felt by numerous minorities and empowering them with the resources needed to succeed,” stated Bonin Bough, Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder of Group Black.
A track record of small business community support
Guided by the conviction that the company can do well as a business by doing good in the world, Mastercard is committed to bringing small businesses everywhere into the financial mainstream. Understanding that time is one of the most valuable assets for any small business owner, Mastercard has a strong history of developing dozens of business solutions and services that center around operational efficiency and ease of use. Mastercard Small Business AI will join the company’s suite of small business solutions designed to empower entrepreneurs to help grow and protect their businesses in today’s digital economy.