Making Microfinance More Effective

Harvard Business Review

Personal savings, insurance, credit, cash transfers from family and friends and other financing mechanisms offer promising opportunities to create security and steady employment but they require a nuanced understanding of product design and the local market conditions in order to be effective. 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.

The Microfinance Contagion Scenario

Harvard Business Review

So far, the Andhra Pradesh (AP) microfinance crisis has largely been viewed as a local issue, with relatively little impact beyond AP or India's borders. Other microfinance crises, in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, and Bosnia, have not spread beyond the borders of a particular country. In a recent paper, Jonathan Morduch and Jonathan Conning explain the role of debt and equity financing in the microfinance industry.

Women as Microfinance Leaders, Not Just Clients

Harvard Business Review

We're a network of microfinance organizations; we exist to share practices and develop the leadership skills required by a sector that has grown up fast. And as you might be aware, microfinance is a phenomenon that, while it did not set out to be "for women," has mainly turned out to be. It's vital to reverse the trend and help microfinance institutions attract, train, and retain talented women. Diversity Gender microfinance WWB

Under Fire, Microfinance Faces Falling Out of Favor

Harvard Business Review

Microfinance has come under fire in the past 18 months, triggered in part by SKS Microfinance's IPO. Critics complain that the institutions supporting microfinance have become too greedy, and many are using this as an argument to deeply regulate or, even more, cut support to microfinance operations. Dr. Muhammad Yunus introduced the concept of microfinance in 1983; in 2006, he won the Nobel Prize for his pioneering efforts. Such is the power of microfinance.


Why CEOs have Liberal Arts Degrees

Mills Scofield

A career advisor once told me that those who pursue liberal arts majors and enter finance, consulting or technology are not the exceptions. She is now the core programming director for the Brown Entrepreneurship Program and Head of Design for The Intercollegiate Finance Journal.

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How Large NGOs Are Using Data to Transform Themselves

Harvard Business Review

and globally, and Habitat for Humanity, which works in 70-plus nations to provide home construction, rehabilitation, and increased access to shelter and financing, gathered data from their sites to make the case for profound change.

Using Games to Get a Handle on Bank Risk

Harvard Business Review

Yet unlike in finance, where distributing risk across institutions is the goal, in drug development the focus is on isolating risk. The success of platforms like suggests that there are large numbers of consumers who would like to have better control and tracking of their finances, but are waiting for simple and practical tools to do so. Finance Research Risk managementBank marketing materials focus on the dreams, anxieties and goals of consumers.

How One Startup Developed a Sales Model That Works in Emerging Markets

Harvard Business Review

A lot had to take place for this all to happen: I had a problem but knew a solution existed; I had access to information on my options; I had a physical destination to see my options in person; a trained employee was available to provide advice and recommendations; and I had a means of financing to bring this appliance into my life almost immediately. Experiment #5: Microfinance Institutions. Customers show up regularly to take out loans, arrange payments, and track their finances.

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

Harvard Business Review

Among the initial findings : more effective programs emphasize communication skills, networking, and organizational structure over developing finance and accounting skills. Here are two surprising facts. First, the average American estimates that over 25% of the U.S.

Scaling Up Without Losing Your Edge

Harvard Business Review

Following Abed's twist on Schumacher — "small may be beautiful, but big is necessary" — it now touches the lives of an estimated 126 million people with healthcare, education, enterprise development, microfinance and a slew of other programs. Forty years ago, British economist E.F.

3 Things Driving Entrepreneurial Growth in Africa

Harvard Business Review

Firms are realizing what microfinance has known for a while: Local self-policing groups, or village headmen who police honor codes, can hedge cash flows in far-flung places. In Kenya six would-be bikers jointly enter Toyota’s Crux Finance scheme, pay down Sh8,000 ($94) each, and start riding for as little as Sh355 ($4.20) a day, often as boda boda taxis.

Making Sense of the Many Kinds of Impact Investing

Harvard Business Review

Currently, impact can mean anything from venture investments in new health technologies to microfinance loans in Peru; from affordable housing in the US to renewable energy in India; from social impact bonds to private equity funds that create jobs.

Entrepreneurs: You're More Important Than Your Business Plan

Harvard Business Review

As Amar Bhide said in " Bootstrap Finance: The Art of Start-ups " (a 20-year-old HBR article that is an uncanny precursor to today's "lean startup" meme), traditional business planning processes are less relevant to bootstrappers — where resilience trumps planning and energy trumps experience.

President Obama Can Make Start-Up America Succeed

Harvard Business Review

Entrepreneurship in financial services has been given a bad rap as one contributor to the economic crisis, but we desperately need innovative financing models for start-ups. We don't innovate in entrepreneurial finance enough in the U.S.: