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Mastercard partners with tonik, Phl’s first digital-only neobank, to accelerate financial inclusion

Through this partnership, Mastercard will further enhance tonik’s market proposition by enabling the latter to issue a range of electronic payments products that taps into Mastercard’s global network and extensive business intelligence when tonik launches operationally later this year.

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Mastercard announced a new partnership agreement with tonik, a two-year-old startup which recently received a bank license in the Philippines.

Through this partnership, Mastercard will further enhance tonik’s market proposition by enabling the latter to issue a range of electronic payments products that taps into Mastercard’s global network and extensive business intelligence when tonik launches operationally later this year. 

Internet penetration in the Philippines is at 67 percent, and one third of the population is millennials—many of whom are digital natives. However, according to the 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), over 70 percent of the country’s population is unbanked. At the same time, 60 percent of Filipinos who are either in the formal banking system or can become part or the system, are willing to use offerings that are digitally focused. Achieving financial inclusion by leveraging financial technology has been top on the agenda for Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which has set the goal of doubling the number of Filipinos with formal bank accounts by 2023. 

Driving digital financial inclusion and expanding access to formal financial services for the unserved and underserved population is one of the cornerstones of tonik’s proposition. As a mobile-only digital bank, tonik is able to develop highly customized, scalable banking solutions that fit the needs of a customer base that is incredibly diverse, ranging from people who are just making their first forays into the formal banking system, through to customers who have held accounts and used financial products for most of their adult lives. Because of its digital-first approach, tonik is well placed to meet consumers’ needs and demands irrespective of where they live, work and do business. 

“We want to empower the underserved and unserved Filipinos by giving them simple, accessible, and fast digital banking experiences. We want our customers to easily gain familiarity with transacting and banking digitally in order to help them harness the full potential of the rapidly changing digital economy. Our partnership with Mastercard is about injecting more speed, scale, and performance into all facets of our business. Having immediate access to Mastercard’s global payment network, safety & security technology, data and analytics services, AI technology, and cybersecurity capabilities will be essential to tonik’s growth and success in today’s digital-first reality,” said Greg Krasnov, CEO & Founder, tonik

Orchestrating this partnership is Mastercard Fintech Express, a tailored program which provides fintechs such as tonik with increased speed-to-market, access to a suite of digital-first products, and a cross functional team of experts to provide strategic counsel and advisory across product, partnerships, licensing and legal to be able to successfully build their offerings. 

“The entire payments ecosystem thrives when fintechs have access to the technology they need to reach scale and make finances widely accessible. tonik exemplifies an agile and innovative fintech whose ambition of driving financial inclusion in the Philippines through digital-first products and seamless consumer experiences is closely aligned with Mastercard’s mission to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone. tonik’s ability to secure a bank license as a startup is nothing short of exceptional and Mastercard is delighted to partner with them to enhance the Philippines’ digital banking space and to boost the nation’s financial inclusion journey,” said Rama Sridhar, Executive Vice President, Digital & Emerging Partnerships and New Payment Flows, Asia Pacific, Mastercard.

tonik will launch with a full range of banking services including a transactional savings account with a debit card, savings and term deposit accounts with attractive interest rates, as well as a range of consumer loans in Q3 2020. Debit Mastercard cards will be available to customers at the end of the year and will allow customers to transact and withdraw cash from everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Additional services such as loans, credit cards, and fund transfer categories will be made available in the course of 2021.

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Poor management the biggest risk factor for workplace bullying

Workplace bullying undermines the functioning of employees and organizations alike. It leads to mental health problems, post-traumatic stress symptoms, emotional exhaustion, poor job satisfaction, high staff turnover, low productivity, sleep problems and even suicide risks.

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Workplace bullying affects one in 10 employees, costing global employers billions of dollars every year in absenteeism, stress leave and lost productivity. 

Now, Australian researchers have developed an evidence-based screening tool that identifies nine major risk areas for workplace bullying embedded in day-to-day practices, putting the onus on organizations to address the problem.

In a paper published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, lead author University of South Australia Professor Michelle Tuckey and colleagues from the Centre for Workplace Excellence,  the University of Queensland and Auburn University in the United States offer a new way of tackling bullying at work.

They analyzed 342 real-life bullying complaints lodged with SafeWork SA, 60 per cent of them from female employees. The highest number of complaints were from health and community services, property and business, and the retail sector. The complaints revealed the risk areas for bullying in organizations.

“Workplace bullying predominantly shows up in how people are managed,” Prof Tuckey says. “Managing work performance, co-ordinating working hours and entitlements, and shaping workplace relationships are key areas that organizations need to focus on. It can be tempting to see bullying as a behavioral problem between individuals, but the evidence suggests that bullying actually reflects structural risks in the organizations themselves.”

The major organizational risks have now been identified and built into a screening tool that has been validated in a hospital setting.

“The tool predicts both individual-level and team-level workplace bullying risks that jeopardize the psychological health of employees,” Prof Tuckey says.

The researchers say that existing strategies, such as anti-bullying policies, bullying awareness training, incident reporting and investigating complaints, focus on behavior between individuals and overlook workplace structures.

“Workplace bullying undermines the functioning of employees and organizations alike. It leads to mental health problems, post-traumatic stress symptoms, emotional exhaustion, poor job satisfaction, high staff turnover, low productivity, sleep problems and even suicide risks,” Prof Tuckey says. “To prevent bullying, organizations must proactively assess and mitigate the underlying risk factors, like other systematic risk management processes. Only then will an organization thrive.”

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Horrible bosses cause ‘race to the bottom’ – study

A new study has found that hostile behaviors from “abusive” bosses can lead to co-workers adopting similar behavior, leading to a toxic atmosphere of insecurity and exhaustion in the workplace.

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A new study has found that hostile behaviors from “abusive” bosses can lead to co-workers adopting similar behavior, leading to a toxic atmosphere of insecurity and exhaustion in the workplace.

The study, carried out by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in the UK as well as researchers in Pakistan, China and the United States, surveyed 323 employees about their experiences of abusive behavior from superiors and peers, and also their job security and level of emotional exhaustion.

Examples of hostile behavior in the workplace considered by the researchers included use of inappropriate language, sexual harassment, outbursts, humiliation and misuse of power.

Researchers uncovered a significant association between abusive leader behavior and abusive behavior from co-workers. Of the 323 people involved in the study, 68% who had experienced hostile behavior from a leader had also witnessed interpersonal aggression from the general workforce.

The study also reported an association between experiencing hostile behavior from leaders and emotional exhaustion and job insecurity, suggesting that mistreatment from peers can damage employees’ confidence in their job and their role within an organization.

Of those who had experienced hostile behavior from a leader, 35% had faced abusive peer behavior themselves, 52% had suffered emotional exhaustion and 77% had concerns about job security.

Co-author Dr Nadeem Khalid, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Strategy at ARU, said: “It’s clear from our study that hostile behavior at the top of a workplace is not only likely to be damaging to individuals in terms of their emotional exhaustion and job security, it is also likely to encourage other employees to act in unethical ways, creating a toxic environment across the entire organization.

“This mirroring of negative behavior may have its roots in the reciprocal relationship between leaders and employees. An employee who is mistreated may feel the only way to get ahead in their job is to treat others as they have been treated themselves – this may not always be intentional but it results in a race to the bottom among employees and damages job security and leads to stress and exhaustion.

“Previous studies have shown that abusive behavior from leaders is associated with a lack of commitment from employees, and has a negative effect on emotional wellbeing. Our study suggests that the situation could be exacerbated by the negative behavior of general workers as well as the leader.”

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LinkedIn lists top startups in PH, highlights rise of digital entrepreneurship, entertainment, education

The Philippines has always had a strong MSME (micro, small, and medium enterprises) sector. The pandemic further propelled its growth as Filipinos embarked on micro or solo entrepreneurship to augment their income and overcome financial challenges.

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LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, revealed its inaugural Top Startups in the Philippines list, which highlights the local startups that have shown resilience in an uncertain market environment and are continuing to innovate in 2022.  

LinkedIn analyzed data across four pillars to compile the list: employee growth, jobseeker interest, the attraction of top talent, and engagement with the company’s LinkedIn page and its employees. This is the first time LinkedIn has introduced the Top Startups list in the Philippines.

Satoshi Ebitani, Senior Managing Editor, LinkedIn News, said: “In an uncertain financial climate, what has proven resilient time and time again is the enterprising spirit that startups embody, especially those on this year’s LinkedIn Top Startups list. In the Philippines, we see a diverse mix in sectors such as e-commerce, education, and entertainment, which continue to lead the way in the future of skills by embracing innovation and attracting top talent with their robust cultures. Through this list, we hope to spark meaningful conversations surrounding the future of work and inspire professionals to equip themselves with the necessary skills to thrive, no matter the headwinds.”

New era of entrepreneurship

The Philippines has always had a strong MSME (micro, small, and medium enterprises) sector. The pandemic further propelled its growth as Filipinos embarked on micro or solo entrepreneurship to augment their income and overcome financial challenges. This new class of entrepreneurs behind startups such as SariSuki (#2), Shoppertainment Live (#3), Edamama (#5), Growsari (#6), Peddlr (#9), and Prosperna (#10) met opportunities to respond to the demands of the times.

Entertainment, E-sports, and Education companies are thriving 

The success of the live-streaming platform Kumu (#4), led by local creatives and talent, highlights the country’s growing demand for innovative and interactive digital entertainment that champions Filipino voices and perspectives. Meanwhile, gaming and e-sports company Tier One Entertainment (#1) shows the unique potential of this lucrative industry by investing in talent and technology.

“Investing in automation, the right people, and experienced leadership who are open to feedback and the ever-changing status quo of our industry was key for surviving and growing during the pandemic. Pivoting quickly through setbacks is vital to survival in these times,” Tryke Gutierrez, Co-Founder and CEO of Tier One Entertainment, said. “LinkedIn has helped us tell our story to the world. We’re able to share more long-form content that isn’t as readily digestible on other social media platforms to an audience that is more open to serious or nuanced discussion,” he added.

Education technology (Edtech) platform Edukasyon.ph (#8) saw an opportunity to be of service in response to the disruption in the education sector and emerging concerns about the future readiness of today’s youth.

Growth areas in digital finance

As digital finance becomes more mainstream in the Philippines, the rise of  PDAX (Philippine Digital Asset Exchange) (#7), a homegrown cryptocurrency exchange, indicates the Filipinos’ growing interest in exploring new frontiers in personal finance and investments to diversify and optimize their portfolios, navigate the current economic climate, and benefit from future growth potential.     

The top 10 startups in the Philippines are:

  1. Tier One Entertainment
  2. SariSuki
  3. Shoppertainment Live
  4. Kumu
  5. Edamama
  6. GrowSari
  7. PDAX (Philippine Digital Asset Exchange)
  8. Edukasyon.ph
  9. Peddlr
  10. Prosperna

More details on the LinkedIn Top Startups list in the Philippines are found here.

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