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Submitted by Femi Ayan on
One of the great innovations to fight poverty is the creation of unprecedented access to micro-capital. The great challenge of the micro-finance innovation has been gaps in its effective implementation outside of the traditional macro-economic mindset and paradigm. I believe that there's a successful repeatable approach to administering micro-finance in any emerging market locale: 1. Basic 3-to-4 day micro-business training prior to disbursement and 2. A 1-to-2 month coaching / mentoring process to support the micro-entrepreneurs through their first loan repayment cycle. As a person directly involved in providing and administering micro-capital in Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, I have seen this additional sub-process yield exceptional results. Simply "throwing money" at a micro-business start-up without any mentoring support increases their chances for failure in two key areas: fully repaying the micro-loan and sustaining the micro-business beyond 12 months. The basic business training seeks to confirm participants' understanding of simple financial concepts like capital, credit/loan, interest, rate of return, rule of 72, revenue/sales, income, expenses, business expansion, cost of capital, cost of sales, debt vs equity and creating simple monthly financial projections for sales, cost of sales, business expenses, debt repayment and profit. The mentoring support ensures accountability and provides a sounding-board for resolving typical start-up issues faced by entrepreneurs everywhere and specifically in emerging markets. It also provides a measure of cheer-leading and positive reinforcement, where needed. This training and subsequent mentoring has the added benefit of ensuring the micro-entrepreneur understands how the real-world operates financially so that they can eventually access traditional banking services in their country when their micro-business stabilizes and expands. It also creates a level of accountability that raises the quality and standard of entrepreneurial fervour and achievement.