Microenterprise Education and Economic Development
Edited by Jeremi Brewer and Stephen W. Gibson
Chapter 5: Toward a hybrid of integrated non-financial services and lending
For the past decade Global Partnerships has been inviting necessity entrepreneurs from Latin America to speak at its annual Business of Hope fundraiser in Seattle. Originally, the vast majority of these speeches concentrated exclusively on the benefits of receiving a micro loan to either establish a microenterprise or to invest in an ongoing concern. Annual praise was given to the impact the cash had on businesses and livelihoods in pure financial terms such as increased cash flow, assets purchased and increased profits, which all led to improved standards of living. As the years passed, however, a shift in the focus of the speeches became more and more apparent. Speakers began emphasizing the life-changing impact of the additional non-lending services provided by microfinance institutions (MFIs): business education modules, the technical assistance advice, and health care classes and services. In one speaker's case these services not only changed her life. They actually saved it.
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