Event: Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Finance and Technical Assistance- The next microfinance? [DC]

July Chapter Event: Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Finance and Technical Assistance- The next microfinance?

Date: Jul 10 2008
Time: 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Location: Chemonics Conference Room, 1717 H Street, NW, Washington, DC [Yahoo! Maps]

Mildred Callear, COO of the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund
Harold Rosen, Founder of the Grassroots Business Initiative
John Simon, SVP of OPIC

Moderator: Peter Tropper, Principal Investment Officer, IFC Funds Department

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Governments, multilaterals, foundations, socially motivated investors, and financially motivated investors are moving into the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise area. For many years, the development community has supported microfinance. Microfinance has developed a series of for-profit companies and has attracted financial investors. With the success and reach of microfinance, there has been a renewed focus on providing money and advice to the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) sector.

The emerging market SME finance sector has required partnership approaches since its inception. All of these funds seek to leverage the “soft” money of philanthropy and development agencies and all seek to leverage the “hard” money of development finance agencies and private financial investors. There are a growing number of initiatives supported by development agencies, development finance agencies, foundations and institutional investors.

There is a growing consensus that money alone is not enough that there needs to be advice and friendly business environment to go with the money. The International Finance Corporation’s Grassroots Business Initiative is about to be spun off as a new 501(c)3 with $15 million of technical assistance resources and is in the process of fundraising for a debt and equity fund which seeks to generate a financial return. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation has increased its financing to the sector, launched small business financing initiatives in Latin America and South Africa, and facilitated the development of several private equity investment funds to support SMEs in Africa. The Small Enterprise Assistance Fund (SEAF) has partnered with USAID, the Inter-American Development bank, European donor agencies and local institutional investors to establish a family of SME funds and has 20 year track record.

We will be discussing future trends in the sector and why donors, foundations and investors are putting a renewed focus on the sector.

Haptip, Steph H.