Mobile Microfinancing

I’ve written about microfinancing a few times in the past, most recently about Kiva, and now I’m pleased to see that microfinance has met mobile.

If microfinance is a new idea to you, it has really exploded in the last few years, ever since the Grameen Bank pioneered the concept in Bangladesh. Read more about Nobel Prize winner and founder of the industry Muhammad Yunus here, but the basic concept is lending tiny amounts of money to the poor in developing countries to enable them to start or expand businesses. It’s distinct from charity, as the entrepreneur is expected to repay the loan in due course.

Mobile Movement takes the concept to the mobile – actually a more relevant channel than the PC in many ways, certainly as far as the borrower is concerned. In developing markets, people are far more likely to have access to a mobile than a PC, as any MobHappy reader knows.

However, not only is mobile used to facilitate the loan and subsequent processing, it’s then employed to provide ongoing mentoring and support to the entrepreneurs via sms and email, as well as allowing the entrepreneurs to feedback progress, including via MMS photos. The MMS idea sounds fabulous, although not sure how practical inter-continental interoperability is in real life.

Read more at Springwise, but let’s hope that they’re on to a winner.

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