The social impact of home solar systems in off-grid villages has shown itself to be broader than initially thought. But while social enterprises continue to roll out new forms of solar, financing their purchase can put these innovations out of reach for the low-income households that need them most. Mark Roesink of Oikocredit shares how weaving responsible microlending into the solar industry could generate greater impact for energy access in emerging markets like India and Kenya.
Women Leaders, Women Lenders: Why Impact Investing Should Follow Microfinance’s Lead on Female Empowerment
Women have been an integral part of microfinance since the very beginning. But though the percentage of women in top leadership positions in microfinance institutions is high compared to the rest of the global banking sector, it’s still lower than women’s proportion of the overall population – and far lower than the percentage of female clients served by these institutions. Abiskar Shrestha, a senior investment officer at MicroVest Capital Management, explores how the sector can boost female leadership – and how investors can help.
Imagine building a business from the ground up – only to see it literally washed away with every drought and flood due to the effects of climate change. These weather-related cycles, which disproportionately impact women, keep millions in poverty and threaten millions more. Nicole Mills with The BOMA Project and Alex Russell with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab detail a new project pairing poverty graduation programs with livestock insurance – and discuss the randomized control trial designed to see if it actually works.
Don’t Throw the Banks Out with the Bathwater: Why the 2017 Findex Shows Opportunity for Microfinance Institutions
The World Bank's most recent Global Findex report has cast significant doubt on the lofty goal of universal financial access by 2020. Signs point to the slowing of financial inclusion in many places, raising questions as to how regulated microfinance institutions should respond to the emergence of mobile money and other fintech disruptors. After examining the numbers, here’s why Scott Graham of FINCA International argues that traditional banks still serve a vital purpose.
- Inclusive Fintech
Many in Silicon Valley's tech investment sector are familiar with the founder-friendly financial instrument known as the “Simple Agreement for Future Equity" (SAFE). SAFEs are commonly used, yet they're often misunderstood by entrepreneurs – and they're not always beneficial for investors. Will Poole of impact investing firm Capria reflects on an experience with a SAFE that went wrong, involving a South America-based entrepreneur with an apparently promising social enterprise. Poole presents three lessons learned about the importance of business integrity, simplicity and luck.