Posts Tagged ‘Microfinance’

View Profile: Shivani Siroya, InVenture

September 5th, 2012

SIR.tv profiles Shivani Siroya, founder of InVenture. Check-out her profile, and look out for more innovator profiles coming out of SOCAP12 from SIR.tv, a SOCAP12 media partner.

While working internationally in investment banking, public health and microfinance, Shivani Siroya witnessed microfinance’s growing success, but recognized a flaw: it did little for long-term growth. Shivani set out to address the gap between micro-loans and traditional bank loans, as well as financial education, so a union of capital and accountability could unleash small businesses’ potential to lift their communities with them.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t call myself an entrepreneur – but by definition I guess that is what I am. I am most comfortable with the terms partner, teammate and creative problem solver.”

Founding InVenture, Shivani created opportunities for these fledgling businesses to grow, hire more employees and create local enduring economic expansion. She’s cornered a market niche, more akin to venture capital than microfinance, granting larger loans of up to $15,000 for entrepreneurs who have “graduated” from microfinance. This contrasts sharply with small micro-loans, which hold borrowers back with high interest rates, rigid payback structures and lack of guidance. InVenture’s loans are crowd-sourced, similar to the popular organization Kiva, while mobile tools and mentoring aim to transform those investments into lasting outcomes.

Shivani developed a SMS money management and risk mitigation tool, helping loan-seekers and lenders alike. Entrepreneurs can track revenue, household expenses and other financial information through their mobile phones. This cloud-stored data improves financial literacy, provides risk and investment information for licensed organizations and micro-lenders, and measures program impact researchers.

For Shivani, financial education is at the heart of her work. She spends a significant portion of her time in the developing countries InVenture serves, helping their Foundation’s fellows educate local entrepreneurs to make the best use of future loans. “Many times working on the ground can be challenging just because you need to find housing and connectivity for your team to get established,” she recalls. “These are some of things that make the daily work challenging, but once you can find some sense of a foundation then I think it’s the work that becomes challenging.”

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Reform microfinance, don’t kill it

December 8th, 2010

Perhaps the heedlessly expanding Indian microcredit industry deserved a smackdown. But what matters most is not what is fair to the microcreditors but what is best for the poor. The Indian government has built an impressive 50-year track record failing to meet the financial service needs of the poor. Under the right circumstances the private sector can help fill the gap. The goal should be to reform microfinance, not kill it.” so writes David Roodman, one of the sanest voices on India’s microfinance crisis.

There are lessons in this crisis for the Social Capital Market and Impact Investing. The mission got lost in the pursuit of achieving “real venture capital returns,” in doing business with and at the expense of the poor.