Browse by Theme: Entrepreneurs

For 27 years CARE has worked with communities to support Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) so that women living in poverty can save, invest and improve their lives. Our new Global Reach report shows astounding progress in the global spread and impact of these community-based financial solutions. Today 6.7 million people across 46 countries are saving and managing more than US$433 million per year through CARE VSLAs. Ahead of the SEEP Network SG2018 global savings group conference in Rwanda this week, this success prompts the question: ‘‘how many more women and girls could benefit from participating in a VSLA?”

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Together with a colleague, Professor Malcolm Harper, I recently spent 18 months researching and editing a book on Islamic microfinance – which is defined as Shari’ah compliant financial services for poor people. Here are some of the key findings.

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The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has recently published a report on DFID’s approach to supporting inclusive growth in Africa – A learning review. Given the major increase in DFID’s economic development budget over the last few years (to £1.8 billion in 2015-16 – more than doubling the amount spent in 2012-13) and the publication at the start of this year of DFID’s new Economic Development Strategy, ICAI’s review of the evidence being used to structure DFID’s spend and programming is timely. It aims to answer a question of great interest to CARE: how DFID manages the dilemma between focusing on transformational growth and ensuring that the poor are able to benefit from it.

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We often talk about providing people with skills, knowledge and tools so they can improve their lives – but sometimes the impact is hard to quantify. So how does the fact that more than 90% of women’s businesses grew over the course of the Skilling for Change programme sound?

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There are 2.5bn people who are financially excluded – who have no access to basic financial products, like savings, credit or insurance. I’ve just been to Kenya to visit Banking on Change, a programme which is changing that. I met young men and women who have joined savings and loans groups set up by CARE Kenya through Banking on Change, a partnership between CARE, Plan and Barclays. Here are five things that the visit impressed on me.

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Peer-to-peer (P2P) micro-lending platforms, such as lendwithcare, have become a popular method of supporting small businesses in developing countries. Local microfinance institutions (MFIs) select borrowers and appraise their loan applications, which if approved, are financed by the P2P platform. Lendwithcare was established in 2010 and to date around 17,000 individual lenders have financed loans to more than 8,000 borrowers across 10 countries. Our experience over the past four years is that as their loans are repaid, lenders invariably re-lend rather than withdraw their money. But while lendwithcare has proven to be very popular with supporters, is it an efficient way for MFIs to access funding?

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The development world has long embraced micro-finance, and there is a lot of hype about micro-entrepreneurs, but what exactly is a micro-franchise?

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