Microfinancing brings together entrepreneurs in developing countries with people with the power to help them. It is a revolutionary way for individuals and groups to help people in the developing world to transform their lives.
It all starts with an idea. Whether it's opening a market stall, or perhaps a small tailoring business, or diversifying the crops they grow, people across the developing world are bursting with business ideas – all they need is a helping hand to get started. Entrepreneurs approach a local Microfinance Institution (MFI) and, if their ideas show promise, they get the go-ahead for the loan they need to get their business going. The MFI uploads the entrepreneur’s profile to a UK MFI. who presents the loan to potential funders. Individuals and groups can choose which promising business idea they’d like to support. Entrepreneur profiles are updated so funders can see how their business is transforming their lives. The entrepreneur pays back their loan in installments to the local MFI, which transfers these repayments to the UK MFI who credit the repayment to the lender's account. When the loan is repaid the lender can withdraw it, donate it to CARE International, or the lender can make another loan, so helping more entrepreneurs turn their ideas and hopes for a better future into reality.
Top three MFIs are:
Lend with care
Currently, the Bellamy Fund is microfinancing projects with LENDWITHCARE a UK microfinance organisation.
There are 7 main options to consider when selecting an entrepreneur to support.
The type of project
Is the entrepreneur is alone or part of a community effort?.
Will success of the project have gains for others, particularly family members?.
Gender of the applicant
Nationality of the applicaion.
The size of the loan required
The payback period of the loan.
Taking these options into account the Bellamy Fund is funding women's groups in Zambia and Malawi.
Seventy percent of the world’s poor are women. Yet traditionally women have been disadvantaged in access to credit and other financial services. Commercial banks often focus on men and formal businesses, neglecting the women who make up a large and growing segment of the informal economy. Microfinance on the other hand often targets women, in some cases exclusively. Female clients represent eighty-five percent of the poorest microfinance clients reached . Therefore, targeting women borrowers makes sense from a public policy standpoint. The business case for focusing on female clients is substantial, as women clients register higher repayment rates. They also contribute larger portions of their income to household consumption than their male counterparts. There is thus a strong business and public policy case for targeting female borrowers. Children of women microfinance borrowers also reap the benefits, as there is an increased likelihood of full-time school enrolment and lower drop-out rates. Studies show that new incomes generated from microenterprises are often first invested in children’s education, particularly benefiting girls. Households of microfinance clients appear to have better health practices and nutrition than other households . Positive environmental impact is also achievable as microfinance programmes may support green jobs and renewable energy systems . Microfinance therefore makes a strong contribution to the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals.
According to the the world poverty index, Index Mundi, out of 162 countries Zambia is ranked the 13th poorest nation (60% people below the poverty line) and Malawi is ranked 18th (53% below the poverty line) in comparison with the UK, which is ranked 119th (16% below the poverty lline).
The entrepreneur requests a loan
It starts with an idea
It starts with an idea.