MCE has issued over $190 million in loans to more than 100 Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and 20 Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) in more than 45+ countries across four continents since 2006.

Microfinance Institutions

A microfinance institution (MFI) is an organization that provides finance services to self-employed, low-income entrepreneurs in both urban and rural areas who are not being served by mainstream financial providers. The core service of microfinance is the provision of microcredit, which is the extension of small loans to impoverished borrowers who typically lack collateral, steady employment, and a verifiable credit history.

MCE prioritizes loans to MFIs that support women and people in rural areas, and that provide “Credit Plus” services, which help people gain access to credit, savings accounts, insurance, healthcare and health education, business education, and technical assistance. MFIs partner with people and entities not typically served by mainstream financial institutions, including low-income entrepreneurs.

MCE believes that, while microfinance alone might not eliminate poverty, it is a critical tactic among many tackling an immense challenge. As studies show, microfinance helps people build assets, manage risks and unpredictable income, and gain the freedom to decide how to make and spend money. Through its programs, MCE is devoted to expanding affordable and reliable financial services to the world’s most vulnerable populations.

MCE does not lend to MFIs in countries experiencing problems with over-indebtedness or in markets that MCE considers too saturated by microfinance.



Small and Growing Businesses

Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs)—which generate approximately $20,000 to $2 million in annual revenue and have 5-250 employees—constitute the dominant form of job creation and entrepreneurial activity in the developing world. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, SGBs represent approximately 90% of the region’s business operations and over 50% of employment and GDP. Yet 45% of these SGBs lack access to loans or a line of credit that would likely spur growth and scale.

To address this market gap, and in partnership with USAID’s Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) Initiative, MCE launched its new SGB Fund in January 2017 to provide loans on flexible, customized terms and at affordable interest rates to SGBs in Sub-Saharan Africa and other challenging parts of the world.

MCE helps SGBs maximize their unique potential for transformative job creation and social impact throughout the developing world. The SGB Fund creates jobs, helps smallholder farmers, facilitates clean water and energy, and increases household savings.

The SGB Portfolio will be diversified among the following sectors: agriculture value chain; water, waste, and sanitation & clean energy; other non-financial services like health & education; and bottom of pyramid financial institutions targeting SGBs. Loans will be in Sub-Saharan Africa (70%); Latin America (15%); and others emerging economies (15%).



Commitment to Empowering Women

MCE prioritizes loans to MFIs and SGBs that are women-led, include a majority of women in a supply chain, specifically develop products or services for women, employ a majority of women, and/or have a majority of direct clients who are women.