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Pollinate Launches Filmmaker Competition in Collaboration with Mastercard to Spotlight Small Business Ingenuity

Filmmakers have opportunity to win up to $10,000 for films that showcase how small businesses leveraged technology to drive business forward during COVID-19 pandemic

Pollinate, the global fintech that partners with banks to help business customers succeed and grow, is launching “Ingenious,” a filmmaker competition spotlighting small businesses, in collaboration with Mastercard. “Ingenious” will celebrate the ingenuity of small business owners around the globe through stories of how small businesses have used technology to drive forward during the pandemic. Ahead of ‘Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Day’, an annual day of observance on 27 June initiated by the United Nations (UN), “Ingenious” will launch today in 31 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and others.

The past 18 months have been especially challenging for small businesses – the waves of COVID disruption, economic slowdown and community crises have disproportionately impacted them. But many have responded with great agility, transforming from a local shop to a local delivery service or making masks, not mugs, or sanitiser, not sangria. They’ve connected with the needs of their community in new ways – as local businesses are built to do. This competition, sponsored by Pollinate, will showcase how reinvention, reimagination, reconnection and entrepreneurship have enabled small businesses to succeed.

To support the small businesses featured in these films, Mastercard will provide free access to tools, education and insights to each of the businesses to empower them to thrive even beyond the pandemic. Filmmakers that enter also have the chance to win one of six global prizes for the best films, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 USD, and four $3,000 USD prizes for the films that best showcase the themes of Get Paid, Get Capital, Get Digital and Loyal to Local.*

“We’re extremely passionate about SMEs and honoured to work with global banks and partners that feel the same way,” says Alastair Lukies CBE, CEO and Founder, Pollinate. “Small businesses are the beating heart of the economy, and it’s been incredible to watch them quickly switch course and continue to thrive despite being some of the worst-hit businesses by the pandemic. The entrepreneurial spirit is so central to SMEs around the world and we continue to see it transformed and reimagined every day. Our partnership with Mastercard has created a powerful alliance that is committed to empowering every small business, and we’re excited to be working on this campaign together to celebrate both that partnership, and the amazing small businesses that fuel their local communities.”

“Small business owners have been role models throughout the pandemic, showing us what it looks like to get knocked down, to struggle, to pivot and to persevere – and for some, they are emerging  stronger than before,” says Andrea Gilman, Global SME Segment Lead, Mastercard. “We are thrilled to continue demonstrating our commitment to this vital community and partner with Pollinate to empower small businesses everywhere to learn from and be inspired by each other’s stories of resilience.”

Though many small businesses have been forced to shutter their doors or adapt business models to sell online during the pandemic, entrepreneurs and business owners still see opportunities every day to reimagine, refresh and reinvent. This campaign celebrates those who take risks and chase their dreams, and it is only the beginning of this shared journey to shine a light on the ingenuity of entrepreneurs around the world.

Pollinate will be hosting the “Ingenious” competition from 25 June – 6 August, 2021 during which filmmakers have an opportunity to capture inspiring small business stories in their communities.

To learn more about the competition and where filmmakers can submit their short films, visit


This competition is sponsored by Pollinate and takes place between 25 June – 6 August 2021.

It is launching in 31 countries around the world: UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

There are two sets of prizes: for filmmakers and for small businesses, subjects of the film.

Filmmakers enter to win one of the six global prizes for the best films, ranging from $1,000 USD to $10,000 USD, and four $3,000 USD prizes for the films that best showcase the themes of Get Paid, Get Capital, Get Digital, Loyal to Local.

Get Paid: SMEs have been trending toward digital banking and payments, with COVID-19 accelerating this shift. Digitalization can streamline payments and ensure proper billing. The pandemic is also driving the use of contactless payments as consumers seek ways to shop with minimal contact.

Get Capital: Cash flow issues have impacted 75% of SMEs, with 71% agreeing that the pandemic prevented them from growing. These challenges can be overcome through new solutions that allow SMEs to access their earnings and micro-credit faster.

Get Digital: The rate of adoption and use of the latest digital technologies has been faster than we could’ve imagined. SMEs now use mobile banking apps to manage their financial affairs and SMEs are finding digital solutions that enable them to open a digital storefront.

Loyal to Local: Consumers are looking to back local now more than ever. Research showed over half of consumers (53%) across the UK, US, Australia and Brazil believe it is more important now to shop locally than it was before the pandemic. The principal drivers behind this support include reinvesting in local economies (45%), keeping money in the community (44%), and driving job growth in the community (43%).

All participating SMEs will have access to Mastercard’s Digital Acceleration program for tools and resources for their digital journey. The overall winner will be featured on

The winners will be announced 1 September 2021.

Pollinate International Ltd. is the Official Sponsor of the Ingenious Campaign. Entries are open from June 25, 2021 8:00 BST until August 6, 2021 23:59 BST, winners will be announced on September 1, 2021.

Awards will be judged on the following criteria: 35% engaging storytelling, 30% answering the ‘Creative brief – Ingenious’ and 35% production quality.

About Pollinate: 

Founded in 2017, Pollinate is a global business headquartered in London. It works with leading banks around the world, including NatWest Group (powering Tyl by NatWest) and National Australia Bank, offering a modern, cloud-based toolkit for SMEs. Agnostic to underlying infrastructure, the platform takes data feeds from any bank and third-party systems. It gives merchants a single place to understand, manage and grow their business, and is built with bank-grade privacy and security at its heart.


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