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Mastercard Intros AI Assistant for Small Business Owners

small business owner

Mastercard is developing an artificial intelligence (AI) tool for small business owners.

Mastercard Small Business AI, announced Thursday (Jan. 11) is being created in collaboration with Create Labs, which offers technology to underserved communities.

In this case, that means developing an AI tool in a way that can “limit biases and cater to diverse entrepreneurial needs,” Mastercard said in a news release.

The company said the tool is being developed to address a need among “resource-strapped” entrepreneurs who see the need for a mentor, and who operate without employees.

“We are working closely with small business owners at all stages of development and seeing the myriad of challenges they face and the critical importance of mentorship to their success,” said Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar.

“Mastercard Small Business AI aims to create mentorship at scale, offering always-on advice from an inclusive set of sources. This is a testament to our commitment to the small business community and to innovations that lift people up.”

The generative AI tool is being built using Mastercard’s content library as well as information licensed from a new media coalition that includes Blavity Media Group, a digital media company aimed at supporting Black millennials, and Spanish-language media giant TelevisaUnivision.

Mastercard plans to pilot the AI tool in the U.S. later this year, with other international markets to follow, the release said.

The company’s efforts mark the latest in a series of recent AI-related product rollouts designed to promote the technology as an assistant.

For example, Walmart earlier this week announced it was aiming to use generative AI and to serve as not just a shopping destination but a “customer’s concierge.”

“For example, a new generative AI-powered search experience that is now available to iOS customers generates relevant, cross-category results,” PYMNTS wrote. “That means a customer can search for ‘football watch party’ rather than launching individual searches for chips, wings, drink and a TV.”

And Mastercard’s Dynamic Yield unit in November introduced a generative AI tool that acts as a personal assistant for shoppers.

“Personalization gives people the shopping experiences they want, and AI-driven innovation is the key to unlocking immersive and tailored online shopping,” Ori Bauer, CEO of Dynamic Yield, said at the time.