Small businesses are – and always will be – the beating heart of our economies and communities. Even COVID-19 couldn’t change this. And if anything, their importance has only been amplified in the past 18 months.

From supplying essentials when supermarkets couldn’t, to pivoting to produce hand sanitiser and PPE, it’s these feats of agility and ingenuity that have ultimately kept those same communities, economies and our world moving.

In the process, although many small businesses have been forced to shutter their doors or adapt business models to sell online during the pandemic, they’ve seized every opportunity to reimagine, refresh and reinvent.

To spotlight this resilience, ingenuity and innovation from across the globe, we are collaborating with Mastercard to launch “Ingenious”. This filmmaker competition will celebrate those who take risks and chase their dreams – and the ideas that will be pivotal for the future prosperity and community recovery that we all rely on.

Introducing Ingenious

By combining our shared passion for small business, “Ingenious” is intended to uncover diverse small business stories and connect the talents of filmmakers – both aspiring and professional – with the entrepreneurs in their communities. Pollinate and Mastercard will be hosting the competition from 25 June to 6 August 2021.

For filmmakers, the brief is to capture an inspiring story of a small business in the context of their community in a 2-3 minute film – showcasing how reinvention, reimagining, reconnecting or entrepreneurship has enabled them to succeed.

Films will explore how businesses or entrepreneurs have adapted using digital tools in the face of the pandemic and its wider economic and social impact. With winners awarded for the films that best address the below themes of Get Paid, Get Capital, Get Digital and Loyal to Local.

  • Get Paid: SMBs have been trending toward digital banking and payments, which has been accelerated by COVID-19. 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 SMBs, with 71% agreeing that the pandemic prevented them from growing. These challenges can be overcome through new solutions that allow SMBs 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. SMBs now use mobile banking apps to manage their financial affairs and SMBs 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 shows over half of consumers (53%) across the UK, US, Australia and Brazil believe it’s 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%).

Filmmakers have the opportunity to win one of the six global prizes for the best films, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, and four $3,000 prizes for the films that best showcase the above themes. The winners will be announced 1 September 2021.

In addition, all participating small businesses will also have access to the Mastercard Digital Acceleration Program for tools and resources for their digital journey. The overall winner will also be featured on

So, what are you waiting for? If you’re a filmmaker, inspirational small business owner, or simply a patron of your local community – or you know of anyone who fits the bill – spread the word, get filming and enter today for your chance to win.

Propelling small business forward in a post-pandemic world 

Beyond all the ways small businesses have pivoted to support their own communities, they also had to undergo transformations of their own in order to survive. And we’ve seen how many had to learn, very quickly, how to implement new digital channels so that they could continue to generate revenue.

“Ingenious” is our latest initiative to support this transformation, but the work hasn’t stopped there. Pollinate has been working with banks globally to deliver powerful digital tools for SMBs to succeed and grow. In 2020, the signing of our long term partnership with Mastercard signified the start of another powerful alliance committed to empowering every small business.

Together, our mission is to enable every business to get paid, get capital and get digital – safely and securely – wherever they are. And we hope Ingenious is just the start of our journey to bring to light some amazing ideas and entrepreneurs from around the world.

Ingenious is the fruition of a wider Mastercard partnership that aligns to Pollinate’s mission to support SMBs through its financial services partners. As we continue to ride out these uncertain times, we will need to continue to work together to innovate and act quickly to support inspirational SMBs and communities alike.

To learn more about small business support, the competition and how to enter, visit Ingenious.