Using Microfinance and Business Development to Enable Entrepreneurial Ideas and Energy
Sometimes, all people need is a little head start, not a hand out.
In Africa, many people living below the bread line want to start a small business or expand an existing one, but financial resources are unavailable from banks and other traditional lending institutions because of a lack of collateral.
This is the type of situation where Develop Africa can help with Microfinance, a term used to describe financial services like microcredit, microsavings, and microinsurance that are given to disadvantaged and impoverished individuals. In practice, Microfinance also motivates individuals with otherwise inaccessible funds that will expand his or her business options while also reducing risk.
Microfinance consists of making small loans, of usually less than $200, to individuals to establish or expand a small, self-sustaining business. For example, a woman may borrow $200 to buy chickens so she can sell eggs. As the chickens multiply, she will have more eggs to sell, and eventually, she can sell the chickens. Each expansion pulls her further from the devastation of poverty.
Microfinance has proven to be a successful practice and plays a major role in the development of many African nations. In fact, the United Nations declared the year 2005, to be, “The international year of microfinance,” in order to remind everyone that millions of people worldwide benefit from microfinance activities.
Empowering Small Businesses
At Develop Africa, our goal is to provide “booster shots” and financing that will enable small businesses to expand. It will provide employment to an area’s local economy as well as contribute to national development. This project also provides important training and support to ensure that the financed businesses succeed. The training focuses on helping beneficiaries to recognize their commercial value, and it also helps the beneficiaries assess and recognize their own strengths and weaknesses in order to build the critical business skills needed to succeed in a competitive market economy. Specifically, the training gives the beneficiary the skills needed to start, manage, and grow his or her own business by teaching proper record-keeping tasks such as how to plan, record, and improve goods and services.
The immediate objective of Develop Africa’s Microfinance and Business Development training program is to assist beneficiaries in starting or expanding a business, so that they can become self-sufficient. The long-term objective is for participants to expand their businesses and employ others as able.
At Develop Africa, we believe that the most important form of microfinance is giving targeted credit to primarily disadvantaged youth and women who are talented entrepreneurs. If those people gain access to credit, they will be able to expand their businesses, stimulate local economic growth, and hire their neighbors in need of employment, resulting in accelerated economic development. While this approach has had significant results in the developing world, it has failed to reach a desired amount of disadvantaged individuals who still depend on a rural subsistence lifestyle and income.
Our Projected Outcomes
- Self-sufficiency for talented youths and women entrepreneurs
- Breaking of the cycle of poverty
- Facilitation and encouragement of the entrepreneurial spirit in the quest for self-sufficiency
- Empowerment and self sustenance
- Economic expansion and growth creating unlimited possibilities for all members of a community including, youth and women