Learning from Microfinance's Woes

Harvard Business Review

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture about microfinance, and got sucker-punched. Expecting to hear a litany of pros and cons about the business, and an exploration of good and bad models, I was instead greeted with a knockout punch: Microfinance doesn't work, at least not in the way we think it does. The pugilist-presenter was David Roodman, a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the author of a new book, Due Diligence: An Impertinent Inquiry into Microfinance.

Guest Post: An Entrepreneur's Thoughts on Market Incentives & Foreign Aid

Mills Scofield

You will be excited and optimistic about the passion, compassion, thought, analysis, and implementation of this generation. I think that microfinance is one of those rare game changing social initiatives that manages to use market forces to drive social change.

Trending Sources

Facebook Presence Is an Important Clue to a Social Venture's Future

Harvard Business Review

In an analysis of data from roughly a hundred social entrepreneurs, we found a clear connection between a venture's Facebook presence and its commercial performance.

Entrepreneurs: You're More Important Than Your Business Plan

Harvard Business Review

And we are often happy to review these start-up plans — which include the typical elements such as a product description, competitive analysis, estimate of market size, and projected financials. Applying a formal spreadsheet-type analysis to an early stage concept can be " disastrous."

Funders Can Give More than Money

Harvard Business Review

And while some foundations bucked the trend and made double-digit investment gains in recent years, the average foundation in Chronicle's analysis netted out 14.9 Six years ago, David and Donna Allman approached Opportunity with an idea that fell outside our traditional microfinance model: to build a Community Economic Development (CED) program in Nicaragua. We know that microfinance alone will not break the poverty cycle.