FiLi, a financial literacy program for youth in Latin America.

FiLi aims to help young people acquire basic financial knowledge and soft skills to improve financial inclusion and increase resiliency

Photo of Magdaly Santillanez
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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Magdaly Santillanez

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Mexico

Where are you making a difference?

Mexico, Panamá, Ecuador and Argentina.

Website or social media url(s)

Instagram: LinkedIn:

When was your organisation founded?

Early July, 2019.

Focus areas

  • Financial skills and capability
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce
  • Creating digital tools

Project Stage

  • Pilot (have done first proof of concept)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $1k - $10k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Most of the time, when you talk to a peer about finance, words as financial markets, interest rates, taxes payments or even loans are still a magical mistery land. We do not understand how credit cards work and some of us, rely on a financial advisor opinion for investing our savings but we have not enough information to know if that is the best decision to make. That's why, we began FiLi and become a first place winner project at Shaping Horizons 2019, the first international summit and action programme on science, politics and innovation for a changing world, which brought together 150 young leaders from across the United Kingdom and Latin America to Cambridge University, for committing to the top world leaders and ignite change.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Latin America holds a promising richness: youth. A quarter of its 163 million people are aged between 15 and 20. As the Global Talent Competitiveness Index reveals, the region betrays two consistent weaknesses: informal work and a lack of vocational and technical skills, amid a high overall skills shortage. Also, 86% of Latin American youth is employed. However, only 37% have formal bank accounts and 89% of them have no savings.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

This platform is for youth between 17-25 years old... For the girl or guy who enters social media and laughs about a financial related joke and at the same time realices that he does not know so much about the subject. Despite, his life could improve if he could learn to manage his credit card payments better or identify if the financial adviser is explaining right the pension or saving retirment plan. FiLi, is also for the girl who wants to know more about different alternatives for investing money instead of having it in the bank or even learn to track her expenses and income activities... the person who wants to learn more but has not enough time or even not enough money to pay a course. The guy who wants to ask for a loan and wishes that this process could be as easy as opening a social media account. That's why, FiLi uses educational methods in a collaborative way with the community, attractive and easy-to-learn content that will be free and accessible through any tool with internet access. Everything will be integrated into our financial education platform: such as the creation and compilation of financial education content, online courses, workshops and maintenance.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Young people use intensively social media in their daily routine and they are extremely comfortable with the Internet and mobile devices. A solution is to be in touch with them, to know the youth personally, to help them transition into the financial and social participation world and to support them in their capacity- building activities. There are already many english resources for theoretical and general financial knowledge. However, there is a gap in the market for explaining how interest rates works, which kind of loans can they have access to, how can they avoid scams or even improve money management.

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

Financial education is the first base in order to develop a financial empowered society who really understands its needs and then, decide by their own what is the better financial services to have. We are tackling the problem of Financial Literacy from the bottom to the top, beginning at personal finances education and progressing to current financial dynamics and also at the moment in Latin America country-specific financial systems dynamics. Our long-term goal is to change the economic resiliency of young people and thereby change the circumstances to which they enter to their societies workforce. The use of digital platforms is the key to our innovative approach, and the interaction between different countries givin hope that in 5 years our programme reaches not only public and private education institutions but also young people that have not entered to higher education institutions.

6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.

In the short term we will have outputs such as learning material and classes held which we expect in the medium time to produce outcomes in the target groups such as financial skills development and change in economic behavior. The latter connects with our long-term goal of changing the economic resiliency of young people. Progress is measured by qualitative characteristics such as completion rate, net promoter score, sustomer satisfaction index, familiarity with material and homework speed. Also, quantitative such as number of participants, number of new users and academic performance.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are several education platforms that offer related finance courses. These alternatives, are different from us in three aspects. First, their objective is to explain theoretical content rather than its practical approach. Second, most of the courses are english based and last one, most of them are not open source. In FiLi we first heard and learn from the people and then we create content in a colaborative and flexible enviroment. First, through live courses to university students and community centers. In order to get the proper feedback and launch the online platform.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

FiLi won the first prize in Shaping Horizon summit in 2019 in Cambridge University. For the short term, with this grant, we are starting the pilot and platform development. For the medium term, as a social enterprise we are looking for new grants and investments to have enough resources to end the platform and maintain it. For the long term, we plan to achieve financial stability through different financial education programs, both online and on site provided to universities, organizations and enterprises.

10. Team

The team is composed by young leaders from Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and Egypt. Most of us are Global Shapers and come from different backgrounds such as economics, finance, industrial engineering, science and entrepreneurship. Nowadays, we are following Scrum Methodology and each of us as a role accordingly. We are planning to evolve to a startup structure in the coming future.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Other

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

There is a competitive environment where there is no margin of error available. Even if you want to help diminish different social challenges, creating a good initiative and making it successful takes time and personal effort. In a world were trying to ignite change implies to double efforts if you are a woman or has any disability kind. However, courage, passion and team work are key strengths for overcoming such obstacles.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Evaluation results

1 evaluation so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation:

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2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

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3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

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4. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

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6. FEEDBACK: Highlights

IMPACT POTENTIAL: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) – and you have a concrete plan for future impact. You have specific tools for measuring impact. - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful solutions - 0%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work operationally and financially in the present and future; your plan is specific and you value sustainability. - 100%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You have a good plan on how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 0%

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7. FEEDBACK: Areas for Improvement

IMPACT POTENTIAL: make sure to provide specific instances of your social impact (or how you plan to measure impact) – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, the main activities/products, and provide evidence of (or plan for) impact evaluation - 0%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: make sure to describe how your solution is unique and innovative – it is helpful to include the research you have done on past solutions and how your solution is different from (and/or builds upon) these. - 100%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: make sure you describe your plan for how to empower others to become changemakers through your programming, service, or product - 100%

WRITING STYLE. Try to be concise, descriptive, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

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