HoneyBee Financial Brings Financial Wellness To Workers
HoneyBee co-founder and CEO Ennie Lim took out high-interest payday loans to pay rent after a financially devastating divorce. She eventually had to move back in and get back on her feet with her parents in Montreal, Canada, but the experience inspired her four-year fintech startup.
HoneyBee is a short term loan program that works through employers and caters to those who are tied to “Rainy Day Loans”. The company also offers credit and financial advice to get people back on track. It’s part of a growing group of fintech startups offering credit through employers, including Salary Finance and TrueConnect.
Among its dozens of users are the Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Kate Somerville skincare line. Lim said she is also working with several Fortune 500 companies that she will hopefully sign soon.
Lim ran her company through employers who paid a fee for the service because it allowed her to provide services to those most in need without burdening them. It was also an advantage for employers.
“A big part is getting employers finally realizing the importance of financial health,” said Lim. “We are a turnkey solution and can roll out our program to companies of all sizes in a day. Repayments are debited directly from the employee’s bank account. “
HoneyBee offers interest-free loans of up to $ 1,000 that are repayable in bi-weekly installments. That’s supposed to help millions of Americans, who often work paycheck to paycheck and can be set back by large expenses like a car breakdown or an unexpected emergency room visit.
These problems sound true with Lim, who came to Canada as an immigrant and struggled with no credit history. It was only after she got married that she received a loan through her husband’s credit line.
Research shows that women are generally less financially literate than men. A 2020 survey of financial literacy conducted by the TIAA Institute and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center at the George Washington University School of Business found that financial literacy among women, especially black women and Latinas, is significantly lower compared to their white counterparts
“I was never taught about personal finance growing up. Everything I learned I had to teach myself and I think we all try,” said Lim.
About 86% of HoneyBee users are women of color, and 68% have at least one dependent.
“Part of our mission is to provide an equitable and inclusive solution. Many DEI executives are starting to consider this option because we are essentially reducing the financial literacy gap in the workplace,” said Lim. “They are finally starting to recognize that people come from different socio-economic backgrounds and financial literatures. ”
HoneyBee raised $ 5.7 million in a round led by ff Venture Capital. Lim will use the cash inflows to grow the team and build the brand.
“Our top priority right now is marketing,” she said. “We haven’t done any marketing since we launched. A lot of what we did was word of mouth.”
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