What Is Microfinance?
Here’s the boring definition:
A type of lending involving small, non-collateralized loans to low-income, typically self-employed, workers who do not have access to traditional financial lending services.
The more interesting definition includes the belief that microfinance is one of the most powerful methods by which people can be assisted out of poverty. Depending on the community, it could rely on a group-lending model by which multiple entrepreneurs in one group agree to effectively be the co-signers for each other. If one person misses a payment on a loan, it jeopardizes every individual in the group’s chances of getting loans in the future. Other models (namely domestic micro-credit) simply create loans for individuals who, for one reason or another, are unable to get traditional bank financing for their business.
Fascinating, isn’t it?
About the Microfinance Summit
The San Diego Microfinance Summit was created in 2009 by a group of aspiring students from Point Loma Nazarene University, USD, and local domestic microfinance institutions (MFIs). The idea behind it is to (1) bring awareness to the area regarding microfinance, it’s ability to reduce poverty and empower the poor, (2) give a forum to discuss academic and practical issues and controversy surrounding microlending as a whole.
Last year, the Summit was an outstanding success with local media coverage including TV stations and newspapers covering the event. San Diego microfinance borrowers from all walks of life came to participate as well, selling authentic food from far away countries, hand made jewelery, and other wares. It definitely was a sight to be seen.
This year, the Summit and the San Diego Microfinance Alliance are expecting an even bigger turnout and more detailed dialog. There will also be more time this year to network with each other and find out about microfinance opportunities (how you can get involved with MFIs in the area.
The Microfinance Summit Details
April 28, 2010 8:30 – 4:30pm
at 5998 Alcala Park (Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at USD), San Diego CA 92110
Disclosure: I consult the SDMFA as well as am on the planning committee for the Summit. Obviously I am biased. I do this as volunteer work and am unpaid.