Microfinance transforms lives, families, and communities by providing economic opportunities to people who are underserved by traditional and government-based business lending programs. That being said, it can sometimes be hard for people who aren’t involved in the microfinance movement, to visualize how these impacts take place. I hope these success stories help to enlighten the multiple ways these initiatives change lives, communities and economies.
Microfinance Recipients Give Back to Their Communities
Keep in mind that microfinance was founded on the principle of helping people and communities out of poverty. When the recipients are in a position to help others because of the business success the microloan or investment has afforded them, then it can be said that microfinance is a successful anti-poverty strategy.
Global Success Stories
Here are some examples of microfinance successes across the globe. In the United States, ACCION is a non-profit microfinancing organization that provides seed and start-up capital, training, and other financial services with a goal of creating sustainable economic opportunities for their clients.
San Diego, California entrepreneur, Lidia Calzado, received a $10,000 loan to help defray the cost of financing inventory for her fragrance and jewelry business. Lidia is a Cuban immigrant who is visually impaired. This microloan allowed her to grow her business such that she now has time and resources to volunteer to work with other immigrant women in her community.
After being displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Bernard McGraw and his family settled in San Antonio, Texas. With a $4,265 microloan, Bernard expanded the small Cajun restaurant he started there. He not only operates the location on the campus of the Baptist University of the Americas, he also started Gumbo Under the Bridge, a program that feeds homeless and needy people in the community.
FINCA is another microfinance organization that has had global impact and reach. Francisco Ortiz, a local artist in Diriamba, Nicaragua, formed a consortium of artists to pool resources and sell their work as a group. After being turned down for a government loan, he turned to FINCA in 2012. The microloan helped Francisco to acquire studio space and finance exhibitions where he, and other artists, can sell their artwork. You can find out more about Francisco and see more FINCA microfinance success stories.
Making an Impact for Years to Come
Microfinance helps people in developing and developed nations build and maintain wealth through entrepreneurship and business ownership. It works by giving loans, used for production rather than consumption, credit and other financial services that help them overcome the barriers of self-employment and entry into the small business market. That’s the reason the Better Life Program is so excited about our microfinance initiatives and the potential they offer to underserved communities.