One of the principal factors in assuring that people attain well-being is economic development. Setting up a business without start-up financing is an insurmountable obstacle, especially when conventional credit is not accessible.
Microfinance offers an effective solution to such a problem, and is promoted by many associations around the world. BNP Paribas supports these initiatives in two complementary ways: financing and skills-based volunteering.
Creating Jobs via Microcredit with Adie
In France, Adie helps people who are excluded from the labour market to set up a business through microcredit. Thanks to the active support that BNP Paribas has been providing to Adie since 1995, 968 microcredits were granted in 2010, enabling 647 businesses to be set up and creating 871 jobs.
Since 2011, BNP Paribas Fortis has also been a partner of Micro Start in Belgium, the fruit of its collaboration with Adie and the European Investment Fund. The project’s success relies partly on the involvement of volunteers.
Supporting Microfinance Institutions across the World with Microfinance sans Frontières
The association Microfinance Sans Frontières (MFSF) provides technical assistance services to microfinance institutions (MFIs) through a network of volunteers, retired people and employees working at BNP Paribas, as well as people from other backgrounds. In Mali, for example, BNP Paribas supports microfinance institutions and skills-based volunteering.
The first MFI financed by BICIM, a subsidiary of the Group in Mali, was Miselini in 2007. Initiated as a programme to support women’s activities in 1993, Miselini is run by an exclusively local team. Similarly, in 2008, MFSF carried out an assistance mission aimed at improving procedures in a local MFI belonging to the PAMIGA network.
The MFSF also conducted a mission in partnership with the Belgian NGO SOS Faim, to assist another Malinese MFIs with management control.
Since its creation, MFSF has carried out some fifty missions in ten different countries for a dozen institutions.
Promoting Microfinance in the United States
It is not difficult to set up a micro-enterprise in the United States at the administrative level. Applications for microcredit are numerous because micro-enterprises are particularly appealing to people who living under precarious socio-economic conditions.
Bank of the West, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas in the United States, supports microfinance institutions established in various states. Its support helps to supply lines of credit but also to train and advise future micro-entrepreneurs, particularly regarding legal and accountancy matters.
In 2010, Bank of the West supplied USD 120,000 to 28 MFIs, including Action in New Mexico and San Diego, the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund, Lewis and Clark College in Portland and the Mission Asset Fund in San Francisco.