Thursday, November 08, 2007

Entrepreneurship: Microfinance project allows Czechs to fund Mexican entrepreneurs

The Prague Post reports that soon, local financiers will be able to grant loans across the Atlantic to entrepreneurs in rural Mexico.

Beginning this month, the portal will be the first institution to bring microfinance to the Czech Republic. A recently popularized banking innovation, microfinance programs allow impoverished people in the Third World — clientele traditionally seen as unsuitable for investment — to secure loans for their small enterprises.

“We want to be the pioneers of microfinance in the Czech Republic,” said Linda Hanyková, executive director of Microfinance, the company behind the My Electronic Loan Exchange Network (myELEN) project.

Through myELEN, investors can lend money to selected Mexican entrepreneurs — farmers, food venders, weavers, grocers — or associations of entrepreneurs, which are listed on the Web site along with their photos and business plans.

While microfinance has become a relatively common phenomenon in the United States, the myELEN project will be unique in Europe when it launches in several weeks’ time, Hanyková said.

Loans granted through myELEN would range between 5,000 Kč and 157,000 Kč ($267–8,396). The site will also allow investors to make donations or interest-free loans, Hanyková added.

Full article: Credit for carpets by Victor Velek Staff Writer, The Prague Post