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.

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.

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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

Give Impact Investing Time and Space to Develop

Harvard Business Review

Whether it’s solar lighting, mobile authentication, micro-insurance, mobile banking, drinking water, urban sanitation, low-income housing or primary health care, entrepreneurs need time to test, modify, and refine business models. Impact investing has captured the world’s imagination.

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.