Small Loans & Business Training

Below is the case study for the MINA micro-finance organisation in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Project nameMINA
LocationUlaanbaatar, Mongolia
Date case study completedMay-09
Contact detailsAlun Price-Davies
For more information on this project contact the TBN office at info@tbnetwork.org
Background, purpose and progress to date
What was the problem / opportunity?Lack of access by the poor (less than US$ 30 per month) and the poorest of the poor (less than US $15 per month) to finance and business training.
What is the ProjectÕs vision?To enable poor people [primarily women] in Mongolia to borrow to start a business to provide food, clothing, housing and education for their family.
How is this vision to be achieved?By obtaining grants to enable a loan fund to be established.
What progress has been made to date?MINA has - since its formation in October 2000 - achieved operational and financial self sustainability. This is a major achievement.
When will the project be self funding, i.e. cost covered by earned income?Costs have been covered by income in this microfinance organisation which operates in an extremely harsh climate [+40ûC in summer; -40ûC in winter]
Impact
What has been the direct and indirect impact of the project to date?MINA has enabled poor people to borrow [with starter loans of US $50 per person] to generate money. The indirect impact has been enormous with husbands and wives being helped to re-establish relations with each other.
Specifically, how many FTE jobs have been created or sustained? Unfortunately, microfinance organisations are not known for creating FTE jobs but this has happened when the businesses grow to a certain size.
How much direct and indirect investment has been made to date?Grant funding has totalled some US $70,000 since MINA was established. In terms of advice given and consultancy services provided from various sources, it is not possible to measure the value of these indirect investments.
Lessons learned
What lessons have been learned? What do you know now that you wish you knew at the outset?The lessons that have been learned are the need for good staff, close, regular contact with all borrowers and the importance of the group solidarity method of lending. The difficulty of mobilising savings to enable the microfinance organisation to grow has been disappointing.
Expansion and replication
What are your plans to expand or replicate the project?The opportunity to expand to Zuunkhaara was heaven sent. There are opportunities to expand to Bayankhonger if the right staff are available.
How many FTE jobs do you expect to have been created or sustained in 3 years?This depends on the growth of the businesses to which MINA lends. This may well be hampered by the current worldwide economic issues which are felt particularly in a country such as Mongolia.
What help do you need to achieve your goals?A larger loan fund is what is required to enable MINA to help more poor people to build a sustainable livelihood in order to provide food, clothing, housing and education for their families.
Could this project be replicated by others elsewhere? What would be needed to do this?Yes; and it is being replicated in Africa, Asia, South America but also in the homes of the co-operative movement i.e. Britain, Holland and Germany where Savings & Credit Unions are growing in importance.
Are there documents to aid replication in the TBN resource library?No

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Small Loans & Business Training
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