Microfinance provides financial services--loans, savings, insurance, money transfers and training--to people outside mainstream services, many living in poverty. As one of the great success stories in the developing world in the last 30 years it is widely recognized as a sustainable solution in alleviating global poverty.
Today microfinance is making its mark in the developed world for helping social entrepreneurs, the unemployed and the marginalized to create business and work.
At this meeting we look at microfinance’s important role in helping on both a national and global scale to create employment and reduce poverty.
What is micro finance and how can it be accessed? How does it differ from the venture capital of the conventional world and what are the success stories?
To help us with this discussion we have
Dr Phyllis SantaMaria is an educator, multimedia developer and social entrepreneur passionate about enterprise development for sustainability and social impact. She started the first Mayan women’s weaving group in Guatemala in the mid 60s, and has seen the benefits of women’s empowerment through enterprise in action. Twice a UK national coordinator: BBC’s Domesday project, (‘crowd sourcing’ with a million to create the forerunner of the internet and Google maps 25 years ago) and 2005, the UN Year of Microcredit (UN and World Bank awards of excellence). She’s worked with microfinance since 2000, and today her London-based social enterprises offer team-building and sustainability programmes for values-based businesses with partners in the UK, Africa, Central America and Asia. (www.microfinancewithoutborders.com and www.threepointseven.com )
Digby Chacksfield, a very experienced and respected Learning Manager at SSE East of England. SSE was founded in 1997 by Michael Young. Its mission is to address inequalities and social exclusion by supporting social entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to transform their talent into real social outcomes, in the form of sustainable solutions to poverty and disadvantage in communities. It does this through the use of action-learning based programmes of personal and organisational development.
SSE supports individuals to realise their potential and to establish, scale and sustain, social enterprises and social businesses across the UK, Australia and Canada. They have just completed receiving applications for the first year of a 5 years' Lloyds Banking Group Social Entrepreneurs Programme.
Mike Baker is Chief Executive of The Social Enterprise Loan Fund (TSELF) and Director of Loans for the Big Issue Invest Group. Originally called the Local Investment Fund, TSELF was set up as a registered charity in 1994 to provide loan finance for charities and organisations with a charitable purpose, with the aim of overcoming the funding gap often experienced by social enterprises.
Earlier in 2012, TSELF merged with Big Issue Invest and Mike is now Director of Loans for the combined Group. The Group currently has around £6m of loans to charities and social enterprises and plans to more than double this over the next 3 years. . Mike has a lifelong commitment to charities and social enterprises; he was a board member of King’s Cross SRB for seven years and is now on the boards of the Community Development Finance Association and the Adventure Capital Fund.
This meeting is being held at The Westminster Hub, which is increasingly becoming a focal point for discussions about enterprise development and social change. We appreciate their involvement in this and you can find out more about The Westminster Hub at http://westminster.the-hub.net/