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Madina Subalova, Haya Al-Dajani and Zografia Bika

Formal credit markets in developing countries are less advanced and therefore, obtaining external funding is difficult for entrepreneurs. As such, microfinance can be a viable alternative solution. This study demonstrates the diverse structure of the microfinance sector and the crucial role of commercial microfinance as a growth trigger in Kazakhstan. By drawing on data from six in-depth interviews with key microfinance industry informants and 155 structured interviews with entrepreneurial users of microfinance lending in Kazakhstan, we found that commercial and outreach microfinance organizations (MFOs) have differing capital structures and evaluation criteria and serve different types of entrepreneurs. Although commercial MFOs distance themselves from poor entrepreneurs, their role in supporting entrepreneurship is important as they provide ongoing funding access and, therefore, tackle entrepreneurs’ working capital dilemmas.