Argent: Economic Empowerment via SMS

Rapid growth has lifted millions out of poverty, but progress has been uneven. Women are more likely to be poor than men because they have less paid work, education, and own less property. New threats brought on by climate change, conflict and food insecurity, cement the urgent need to realize decent work for all.

With this in mind, how can we enable and empower underrepresented populations to access education, increase economic opportunities, and realize decent work for all?

This was the question posed to us at this year’s Hack the Globe, a 24-hour social impact hackathon I had the pleasure of participating earlier this month. This non-typical hackathon challenges diverse students to tackle humanity’s most pressing problems by adopting a multidisciplinary mindset and focusing on sustainable outcomes. To address this challenge, we researched, brainstormed, and narrowed down on our focus area over the course of 2 weeks, with the support of a mentor from Boston Consulting Group.

Our final solution earned us 2nd place out of 60 teams, and $500 donation to a charity of our choice! If implemented, it would deliver $36 in Net Social Impact for every dollar invested, impact over 17,900 individuals, and generate $6 million in community impact within in 10 years! So what was our solution?

Introducing Argent: An accessible loan/financing and farming advice SMS bot to help create more stable farms and economies in rural regions

Argent is an easy-to-use platform that empowers farmers to get connected with a loan that meets their needs based on their crop, annual yield, weather patterns, location and more to ensure a credible rate for both the farm and the lenders. In addition to this, we reactivate interactions daily to ensure they can keep up with farming recommendations (weather impacts) or financial advice (budgeting) through a simple, personable SMS chat bot.

In 24 hours, we prepared a demo (on the right) and presented this solution. You’ll find our slide deck below, and my code is available on Github!

Try it below!