Gina Harman (CEO of Accion, The U.S. Network) discusses the basics of microfinancing (microlending).
Microfinance has been around over 50 years now. it is an approach all around the world to help people change the circumstances of their lives by starting or growing a business. For us, Accion has been at work here in the United States for 20 years and what that means to us is working with a business owner, working with someone who’s chosen to be in business, to help them define what they need to succeed. That takes the form of capital. It takes the form of mentoring and coaching. Sometimes it takes the form of establishing credit for the first time. All of those are very common elements whether you’re in Bogota or in India or in Africa. For us it’s not a question of how old your business is, it’s about the commitment you have to growing it, about the proactive way in which you approach issues in the business whether you have a problem, whether you see an opportunity and want to go after it. Financing comes down to lots of different elements before we’ll decide that a loan works for a business owner. Um, but I think for all of us our outcome, the thing that we really look for, is the ability for someone to change their life circumstances by owning a business. And so it’s the success of the business and the business owner that matters to us.