Microfinance Funds Universe!

We knew microfinance was powerful, but funding the universe…?

But on a more serious note, this site seems to be a good source of microfinance news, especially for those looking to get some return on their investment, and wanting to judge the performance of commercial funds.

Their stated aim is this:

Since microfinance is currently dominated by governments and charities, objective information with a business orientation is scarce and buried under academic jargon. We seek to provide honest, candid information on microfinance as an emerging investment class.

If you have no idea what microfinance is, you can learn something about it in these places:

There is an excellent in-depth introduction and survey of the field by the Economist, available here. Non-subscribers can currently get it as a PDF from the ACCION website.

This entry was posted in all, international development, microfinance, poverty. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Microfinance Funds Universe!

  1. Thanks for your comments on my post earlier.

    Have you heard of “Skill Swap” ? Heres an example. Let us say that you are a great plumber who needs his computer fixed. I am a great computer technician whose pipe is leaking. We could enter into a swap agreement whereby you could fix my leak while I fix your computer.

    This is my reasoning for the volunteers wanting to work with the entrepreneur. There would still be a quid pro quo. A marketing student gets an opportunity to write a business plan in the real world instead of a case study. A printer would probably be able to advertise their services at the bottom of the leaflet etc.

    Its a coordination exercise that allows the entrepreneur to reach out and get their business off the ground. That means faster payback and possibly higher returns as well.

  2. torchwolf says:

    I understand where you’re coming from with that, and it makes a lot of sense with regular entreprenuers. In fact it’s pretty common that MBA students and the like are used by all kinds of businesses as free or cheap consultants.

    But when we’re talking about micro-entrepreurs, we might for instance be talking about an illiterate woman whose business is a stall serving cooked rice to poor (but employed) workers for their lunch.

    It’s not a question of payment, it’s a question of whether a marketing student has anything relevant to offer. There’s no questions of branding, segmentation, marketing materials etc. And the typical student would have so little understanding of the world of the poor, it is questionable they could really offer a lot that was constructive.

    Where there is more value is in students working with institutions rather than micro-entrepreneurs, which does happen to mutual benefit.

  3. Hmmm… I was of course speaking from personal experience in my post. I have seeded an enterprising young man who did not have the money to put together a “Bhel Puri” stall. Not only did I fund him, I also made some recommendations on how he can get better margins. He is perhaps the only guy who would sell 4 puris in his sev puri as mini packs for those with low appetites. And he repaid me the capital and more in less than 6 months. If you ever wanted to have a good sev puri in Mumbai, just let me know. Jaggu Maurya would take good care of you !!

  4. torchwolf says:

    Good for you! Are you based in India, or do you just visit?

    Maybe you could write a post about your experience, that would be very interesting. I’m quite interested to hear about these recommendations for improving margins, and how you came to them. 🙂

  5. Espen says:

    An interesting discussion within the microfinance community now is also how you move from funding “micro-businesses” towards developing “micro enterprises”. I think in that context a “skill swap” idea would be more useful.

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