Micro Enterprise Development (also known as Economic Empowerment) is the provision of small, collateral free loans to the entrepreneurial poor for self-employment opportunities. It’s designed to assist or to give a kick-start to entrepreneurs who lack access to financial services through the traditional banking sector for the purpose of developing their small businesses. As loans are repaid, this money is re-loaned to new clients.

Teach a man to fishThe clients receive loans as groups not as individuals. This model keeps each member accountable to one another and improves the success of repayments, builds relationships between members both within the groups and at training sessions.

We target women who would not typically be able to borrow money from commercial banks so they are forced to borrow from loan sharks who charge exorbitant interest rates. Our in-country partners act similar to a bank, but this bank goes to the people and offers microcredit, which is affordable to the poor.

In many cases the poor often have both skills and ideas, but unless they have access to capital, they will never have a chance to implement any of them. MED helps the participants gain self-worth and live dignified lives.

We only lend money to those who are prepared to help themselves. We are not a charity in the usual sense of the word. Experience teaches that giving charity is not a long-term solution to extreme poverty. What we do is provide capital, facilitate loans and then create support systems for the clients so they will be successful in running their business.

MED provides economic independence and empowers the working poor to build their own future, take control of their financial situation and free themselves from poverty. MED helps develop the community as a whole.

By helping a poor family to increase their income there is an immediate and lasting impact on their quality of life. This enables the ability to afford food, shelter, education and healthcare. As business income increases, the business is able to expand and the effect spreads beyond the family into the local community, resulting in employment and contributing to the local economy.

Micro Enterprise Development in South Africa

Our in-country partner, Phakamani Foundation (PF), is an established organisation with proven results in the field of providing Micro Enterprise Development opportunities to the entrepreneurial poor (women). The women we work with must have sustainable and sound micro enterprise ideas and the willingness to carry them out.

PF provides access to capital and guidance (through training and group support systems) to help them lift themselves out of poverty. This leads to income generation, savings and hope for entire families.

The loans issued by PF have a 95% repayment rate.

Hopes and Dreams assists PF in providing the facilitation of these loans so the clients can run their own viable businesses. We provide our clients with a “hand up, not a hand out” as they make their own way out of poverty.

Economic Empowerment in India

Hopes and Dreams India provide the entrepreneurial poor who have sustainable and sound small business ideas with access to capital and support systems. This leads to income generation, savings and hope for entire families. The women we target live in deep rural regions. They are amongst those considered to be the poorest of the poor.

With this opportunity they can either start their own viable small business or help take their small business to the next level, so that they then can qualify to meet the formal banking requirements and provide security.

All our programs are tailored to suit the geographical area of where the clients will run their business to ensure they succeed. Some examples of the sort of businesses the women operate are: tailoring, selling new clothes, selling fish, snack shops, selling sweets and selling fire wood.

We provide our clients with a “hand up, not a hand out” as they make their own way out of poverty.