Making Microfinance More Effective

Harvard Business Review

The Grameen model of microfinance gained a great deal of attention in the international development field after early data showed that it was associated with high repayment and low default. Expanded access to microloans did lead some entrepreneurs to increase business investments , but rarely to increased profits. Can financial products be used to empower women consumers and entrepreneurs? For the 2.5

Book Review: The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook

Chartered Management Institute

The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook by Rupert Scofield is written to guide the aspiring social entrepreneur through the full range of activities of starting, building and running a social business. Rupert is the CEO of the foundation for International Community Assistance, a leading microfinance institution.

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

Mills Scofield

One of his main tasks was to structure a hedging derivative that negated foreign exchange risks so that Microfinance institutions could take safer loans from the developed world. This is a guest blog by Chia Han Sheng, Brown University '14, co-founder of MedInternational.

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.

What Makes Social Entrepreneurs Different

Harvard Business Review

When social entrepreneurs say that they want to "work themselves out of a job" they are not making a glib statement to sound cool. Commercial entrepreneurs are different. That is why social entrepreneurs were among the most enthusiastic popularizers of concepts like C.K.

Lessons for Social Entrepreneurs from the Microfinance Crisis

Harvard Business Review

The microfinance industry has in just a few years gone from making headlines for the Nobel Peace Prize to stories about limited impact, allegedly abusive tactics, client suicides, government crackdowns, major lenders struggling with insolvency and the forcible removal of Mohammed Yunus as Managing Director of Grameen Bank. But we shouldn't ignore how the microfinance industry made itself vulnerable to attacks with a political motive.

I'm a bank - well, with the help of Kiva.org!

Jason Womack

Ok for the first 3 people to suggest loan recipients, I will loan to entrepreneurs at www.Kiva.org. Intercontinental Ballistic Microfinance from Kiva Microfunds on Vimeo. If you'd like to recommend someone I loan to, simply @ me over at Twitter: @ JasonWomack.

An Approach to Ending Poverty That Works

Harvard Business Review

Microfinance and other market-based interventions don’t generally reach them. I’d like to see the private sector, philanthropists, and social entrepreneurs throw their weight behind this idea to end poverty for all.

Microfinance Is Good for Women, but It's Only Part of the Solution

Harvard Business Review

Career paths are not one-size-fits-all, yet in emerging markets, it's often assumed that microfinance — the use of small loans to foster self-reliant small businesses in a community setting — is the only path for women seeking economic opportunity. Microfinance has accomplished tremendous things and helped millions of women launch their own businesses; however, it is not a complete means of economically empowering women. Microfinance was one issue that we considered.

Can Technology End Poverty?

Harvard Business Review

Shameran Abed, who runs BRAC's microfinance program, explains what happened: "In the first couple months, a lot of our borrowers would send the money through their mobile phones and then physically show up at the branch to check with the accountant that the money had turned up.".

Can Technology End Poverty?

Harvard Business Review

Shameran Abed, who runs BRAC's microfinance program, explains what happened: "In the first couple months, a lot of our borrowers would send the money through their mobile phones and then physically show up at the branch to check with the accountant that the money had turned up.".

The 3 Preconditions for an Entrepreneurial Society

Harvard Business Review

And if you need access to money, crowdfunding platforms and microfinance options make that easier than ever. Many entrepreneurs claim they succeed despite, not because of, their schooling.

The Innovation Mindset in Action: Shantha Ragunathan

Harvard Business Review

Sasikala, a Block Development Officer (BDO), talked to the Kodapattinam villagers about microfinance , only Shantha, of all the villagers, saw the opportunity and took action. To participate in a microfinance campaign, the village had to form a Self Help Group (SHG) of about 20 people, with each member contributing a certain amount of money every month. Undeterred, Shantha persisted until she persuaded the required number of people to sign up for the microfinance project.

Entrepreneurship Needs to Be a Bigger Part of U.S. Foreign Aid

Harvard Business Review

” In less mature economies and fragile regions of the world, entrepreneurs are just as, if not more, critical to livelihoods and development. Here are two surprising facts. First, the average American estimates that over 25% of the U.S. federal budget goes to foreign aid.

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

Harvard Business Review

Fledgling social entrepreneurs may have a lot of passion, but they usually don't have much of a track record, a circumstance that leaves would-be backers to wonder: Which have the potential to become genuine world-changers?

3 Things Driving Entrepreneurial Growth in Africa

Harvard Business Review

In 2014 we described what Western investors want from African entrepreneurs. We recently interviewed 100 entrepreneurs to find out which ventures are most likely to thrive. Here are three things that Western investors should want from African entrepreneurs: a focus on the top of the pyramid, control over factors of production, and innovation in distribution rather than in products.

Give Impact Investing Time and Space to Develop

Harvard Business Review

This is a nascent sector where entrepreneurs and investors are still figuring out business models, developing new financial products, and proving exit strategies and exit multiples, and only a handful of players are using agreed-upon metrics for assessing social impact.

Global Entrepreneurs Need New Funding Models

Harvard Business Review

But many entrepreneurs — particularly those in the world's toughest economies — are still battling to secure the cash they need to launch and run their businesses. The effort got off to a rocky start, with few firms taking up the loans, but has since begun to offer more support services for entrepreneurs alongside slightly less stringent lending standards. These changes have led to entrepreneurs like Howard receiving the cash they need to achieve their dreams. "I

It's Not All About Growth for Social Enterprises

Harvard Business Review

If you ask venture capitalists in Silicon Valley how they measure the success of business entrepreneurs, they would no doubt list off metrics having to do with fast growth: funding raised, people hired, customers acquired, revenue produced.

Banking on Women and Girls: Key to Global Poverty Alleviation

Harvard Business Review

On this 100th International Women's Day , it is right to reflect on how women have become the heart of the microfinance industry. It is easy to forget that the initial motivation for microfinance roughly 30 years ago was, to a great extent, gender neutral. The pioneering microfinance institutions sought to provide credit to poor entrepreneurs who had no assets to pledge as collateral and, consequently, were denied access to capital by the formal banking sector.

It Takes a Village to Raise an Entrepreneur

Harvard Business Review

For the last two years, we have studied this evolution with our partners at Echoing Green , a fellowship-granting organization that provides seed funding to emerging social entrepreneurs. Commercial microfinance organizations are perhaps the best-known hybrid organizations, but social entrepreneurs now use hybrid models to address a diverse set of social issues that includes hunger, healthcare, economic development, environment, education, housing, culture, law, and politics.

Funders Can Give More than Money

Harvard Business Review

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. It called for leveraging the profits of the global microfinance institution, and coupling them with private investments from the Allmans and their donor network. We know that microfinance alone will not break the poverty cycle.

President Obama Can Make Start-Up America Succeed

Harvard Business Review

Bravo entrepreneurs. Obama has placed real entrepreneurs at the heart of the dialogue, and you appear to be listening to them. As a leader, Obama makes entrepreneurship a top priority, and has consistently promoted entrepreneurs as central economic actors and key to economic recovery.

The Downside of Focusing on Women and Girls

Harvard Business Review

David McKenzie's research in Sri Lanka, Mexico, Brazil and Ghana has shown that urban male entrepreneurs typically earn far higher returns from microfinance than women do (in Sri Lanka average returns on capital for women were 0%, for men 10%). Yesterday was International Women's Day and there were many articles and blog posts championing the idea that anti-poverty philanthropy should focus on women and girls (see, for instance, Mary Ellen Iskendarian's post for The Conversation ).