the mif blog

Stories of inspiring entrepreneurs and organizations, discussion and commentary of new trends in private sector development, and the latest events and publications.

Can we invest intelligently in microfinance?

By Yuri Soares

Microfinance has grown from an outfit financed by a few donors and philanthropic foundations, to a large and profitable industry: a multi-billion-dollar worldwide endeavor reaching 2 billion clients in low- and middle-income countries. The amount of international public and private funding to microfinance institutions has likewise increased dramatically—I estimate by a factor of 14 over the past decade — reaching $31 billion in 2013. Given this success, and the amount spent by impact investors (including development finance institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank), are we investing intelligently? 

In search of effective mentoring programs for women entrepreneurs

By Yuri Soares

By Yuri Soares and Maria Teresa Villanueva 

Mentoring is a tool that has the potential to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses, and in some cases change their lives. Models of mentoring are more widely available than ever before. Modern approaches emphasize that women benefit from a wide array of mentors—not only experienced and successful women, but also male role models, peers, and even competitors. Mentoring is also increasingly conducted through dynamic platforms, often online or through social media, and is increasingly integrated as part of broader programs.