MICROCAPITAL STORY: Indian Technology Company, Comat, Raises $12.5m from Omiydar Network and Unitus Equity Fund of the United States

Comat, a technology company providing services to rural India, recently raised INR 60 crore (USD 12.5m) from the Omidyar Network and the Unitus Equity Fund (UEF). According to a Business Standard article, the new investment will allow “Comat to expand to new States, accelerate service delivery for training and financial services [and] strengthen management bandwidth.” Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Barclays to Donate $20m to expand its Microfinance Pilot Program in Uganda in collaboration with CARE International and UWESO

Barclays bank has announced a three year, USD 20 million funding plan to support microfinance programs in ten countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. The program will include the expansion of existing community-based financial services, as well as the introduction of new microfinance programs in collaboration with CARE International, Plan International and Accenture consultancy firm. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Indian Finance Minister Promises Credit to North Eastern Region

The Finance Minister of India stated that the North Eastern region of India would receive an increased flow of credit from the central government, addressing the Special Summit on Banking, Industries and Credit Issues in the North Eastern Region organised by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) at Vigyan Bhavan. The Finance Minister, Chidambaram, stated that although the North Eastern region is not currently receiving enough credit, it will begin to. The Summit was attended by the Minister of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), the deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India, the Chairman of the State Bank of India and other top officials of line ministries and financial institutions. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Ernst & Young Donates $1m of In-Kind Resources to Assist Kiva Microfunds with Accounting

Ernst & Young LLP (E&Y), a “Big Four” accounting firm headquartered in London, has donated up to USD 1 million of in-kind resources over the next three years to provide oversight and accountability to the micro-lending process of Kiva Microfunds LLC, a micro-lending website that connects individual lenders with target entrepreneurs via microfinance institutions (MFIs).  The partnership was announced at the 2008 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) summit, an annual gathering of global leaders in government, business and civil society for the purpose of discussing pressing development challenges and their solutions. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Merrill Lynch Community Development Company Invests $10m in Fixed-Income Securities Offered through the Calvert Social Investment Foundation

Merrill Lynch Community Development Company (MLCDC), a for-profit development-focused subsidiary of Merrill Lynch & Company, Inc., has invested USD 10 million in Calvert Community Investment (CCI) notes, which are fixed income products issued by the Calvert Social Investment Foundation, a development non-profit located in Besthesda, MD.  The MLCDC investment will finance about twenty microfinance institutions (MFIs) that are expected to provide micro-credit over 25,000 female entrepreneurs in developing nations.  The initiative was announced at the recent 2008 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) summit, an annual gathering of global leaders in government, business and civil society for the purpose of discussing pressing development challenges and their solutions. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Dubai’s Community Development Authority (CDA) is Collaborating with PlaNet Finance Group in the development of its Microfinance Sector

The Community Development Authority of Dubai (CDA) and the PlaNet Finance Group have held talks on collaborative opportunities within Dubai’s microfinance sector. Established as a government entity in July 2008, the CDA is responsible for the social development frameworks within Dubai. Its goals are to complete the objectives of Dubai’s Strategic Plan of 2015 which was unveiled in February of the same year. The Strategic Plan is expected to generate an annual GDP growth of 11 percent to Dh396.36 billion (USD 108 billion) by 2015 from the country’s current  GDP of Dh137.25 billion (USD 37.4 billion). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Fondo Para el Desarrollo, Inc. (FONDESA) and the Cisneros Foundation team up to advance Microfinance in Miches, Dominican Republic.

Fondo Para el Desarrollo, Inc. (FONDESA), a microfinance institution operating in the Dominican Republic, has signed a partnership agreement with the Cisneros Foundation, a Venezuelan private philanthropic institution. The agreement will center on the Dominican town of Miches, which is primarily dependent on tourism as its main revenue source. The strategic alliance between the two groups will present a cooperative approach to further the areas of education and microfinance in the town. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) Reflects on Six years of Microfinance in Azerbaijan

The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) held a conference in Azerbaijan in September focusing on the progress of its microfinance initiatives within the country to date. The event hosted international investors as well as government officials and entrepreneurs in the SME and microenterprise sectors within Azerbaijan. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: USAID Presents Online Conference on How Microfinance Contributes to Economic Recovery in Conflict-affected Countries

HOW DOES MICROFINANCE CONTRIBUTE TO ECONOMIC RECOVERY IN CONFLICT-AFFECTED COUNTRIES?

OCTOBER 23, 2008, ONLINE

The United States Agency for International Development (AID) is offering this online “webinar” from 10 am to 11 am, eastern US time. Mayada El-Zoghbi of consulting firm Banyan Global will present lessons learned from a collection of recent case studies completed for the Microfinance Amid Conflict research theme of AID’s Accelerated Microenterprise Advancement Project. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Indian Finance Minister and Insurance Industry Point Fingers While Touting Micro Insurance

Indian Government representatives and members of industry weighed in on the role of microinsurance from a recent Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) conference. During his speech, Tarun Bajaj, joint secretary of the department of financial services and the ministry of finance, expressed his view that insurance companies should place more emphasis on microinsurance: “Microfinance will not be complete without microinsurance as one event is enough to push back an aspiring farmer into his original state.” He urged insurance companies to work with microfinance institutions (MFIs) to provide insurance to the poor. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Pledges $450k Over Five-Year Period to Non-Profit Social Investment Fund Root Capital

On September 26, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR), a Vermont-based coffee company, pledged a grant of USD 450,000 over five years to Root Capital, a non-profit social investment fund focused on grassroots businesses in the developing world.  This is the single largest grant in Green Mountain’s history.  The announcement was made at the 2008 summit of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an annual meeting of world leaders aiming to address global development challenges.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: India Post and NABARD Partner to Disburse Microcredit Throughout India

India Post will soon disburse microcredit sanctioned by The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in the Northeast and eight additional states of India, building on a scheme operating in Tamil Nadu in the Southeast. The funds are sanctioned as microloans to Self-Help Groups, or SHGs which, according to Professor Annuppalle, of Sri Venkateswara University in India, is a “small voluntary association of poor people, preferably from the same socio-economic background.” While SHGs encompass both male and female participants, the funds will be distributed to female SHGs only. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Gates Foundation Matches Rotary and Caster Foundation to Donate $600,000 to Opportunity International

USD 600,000 was raised by a cooperation between Opportunity International, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Caster Foundation, and Rotary Clubs throughout the USA and Canada. The fundraising effort was initiated with an offer by the Gates Foundation to match and double funds raised for Opportunity International, up to a total donation of USD 400,000 by the Foundation. Thirty-six Rotary Clubs in and around San Diego, as well as clubs in Calgary, Canada and The Caster Foundation, joined this initiative to raise a total of USD 600,000 for Opportunity International, a network of partners and institutions that facilitate microfinance, microinsurance and microsavings globally. Bink Cook, co-chair of San Diego Rotary’s Microcredit Committee spoke of Rotary’s motivation to get involved saying that this was, “an ideal opportunity to collaborate in a major program with global impact“. The funds will be distributed by Opportunity International as microloans through their lending facilities in Ghana, where they have 117 thousand active clients and have already loaned USD 98.8 million. Opportunity International currently operates in ten African countries. Continue reading