In areas in Africa like Kumasi, Ghana, many women find themselves struggling financially to support themselves and their families. They are often poor and uneducated, and the breadwinners of the family, and continue to work jobs for many years, even after profits do not rise. The women run businesses that involve selling fruits and other goods at the Bantama Market in Kumasi but lack the funding needed to increase their profits. For many of these women, the need for these loans to finance their businesses led them to borrow from microfinance companies that offered loans at 43% interest rates, effectively wiping out the women’s chances of repaying the loans, let alone making a profit from them.
SoCCs allowed women to secure 12% interest loans that boosted their business production and sales. As a result, the women were able to not only make more money but to become more confident and business savvy. At the end of 2015, about 138 women were enrolled in the program, and about 200 collateral-free loans worth about 229,394 Ghanaian cedi ($60,000) had been disbursed to the women. Read more here.
Micro Credit Banks (In collaboration with MSSRF)
Since 2000, Asia Initiatives has provided funds through MSSRF (M.S. Swaminathan Foundation) for sustainable enterprises via our Micro-Credit Bank (MCB) programs where loans are given to groups of people, mainly women, from rural villages. With access to capital, these people have proven themselves to be successful entrepreneurs, developing and expanding small business ventures of handicrafts, papermaking, garment production, and entrepreneurship. We also encourage creativity and entrepreneurship by enabling villagers to develop business ideas and submit them to our Micro Enterprise Capital Marketplace. We help create employment by providing financial support for innovative small businesses. Over 200 MCBs have been established to date in partnership with MSSRF, including 20 that were donated to VIKSAT in Gujarat after the earthquake.