Microfinance provides the economic engine to enable the world’s poorest communities to turn business ideas and opportunities into successful enterprises. ‘Micro’ refers to the relatively small sums needed to provide start-up capital or funding for growth. Microfinance providers work with communities who don’t have access to mainstream financial services.
Microloans involve lending small sums of money, often just a few hundred dollars, to people who do not have a measurable credit history, assets to secure the loans, or access to mainstream financial providers. They are designed to be realistic and affordable for borrowers. When they are repaid, the funds are recycled to other borrowers. This way a fund can support a number of different enterprises and help build a diverse and sustainable local economy.
Savings programmes enable those without a reliable and regular income to save funds to be used in the event of disaster or misfortune. Micro-savings accounts help ensure safety and security of funds and pay a small bonus on the money saved.
Crop insurance enables clients to guard against the failure of their crop through lack of rain or natural disaster. Health insurance helps provide funds when a member of the family is sick or worse still dies. Micro-insurance is made available to clients in case the worst happens.
Loans, savings and insurance make up microfinance and are all provided by the VisionFund network in over 35 locations across the world.