SKI Microfinance Institute
The SKI Microfinance Institute (SKIMFI) empowers the economically excluded by supporting local entrepreneurship. This mission is achieved by providing capital to female entrepreneurs, whom we help build the foundations for strength and self-sufficiency. With access to microfinance, the potential and energy of our participants is leveraged to ultimately lead the way towards the broader growth of their communities.
SKIMFI provides microloans to women with a “hand up rather than a hand out” philosophy. The institute supports hundreds of women at any one time, and provides them with continual support throughout their entrepreneurial efforts. We believe access to funding and a means to help themselves is the key to unlocking their full potential. They hold the knowledge and talent to create value, but due to obstacles outside their control are unable to channel their ability. Our capital infusions can bridge this gap and contribute to local economic development.
Low-income women in much of the developing world represent a socioeconomic paradox: they are some of the lowest-risk members of the workforce, yet they are the most-excluded customers of local financial systems. For historical and/or cultural reasons, women as a demographic face the largest challenges when trying to take control of their own destinies and empower themselves. As such SKIMFI focuses solely on these females, and through our initiatives we contribute to shifting the balance between genders in the developing world to a more level playing field.
Before engaging in a specific community, we make certain that we have access to a robust network for sourcing and vetting prospective entrepreneurs. Through business reviews, interviews, and referrals, we are able to involve the most appropriate candidates in our program. The women then organize themselves into small groups, realizing another level of support through the concept of solidarity lending.
We have no preference or requirements regarding how the entrepreneurs utilize their capital; our confidence stems from their past success and expertise in their self-selected activities. We do not seek to push but rather to reinforce and encourage businesswomen to reach the next level. Due to the nature of microfinance our backing is limited to small enterprises such as trading, foodstuffs, and other asset-light ventures.
We offer capital at competitive rates, balancing access to funds with the motivation for our participants to utilize that capital efficiently. Service rates are lower than those offered by other microfinance institutes, and far below available commercial options. As a not-for-profit organization, funds remaining after our local staff is compensated and daily operations maintained will be reinvested for further deployment.