At the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, J.P. Morgan (JPM) was quick to understand the global scale of the crisis and decided to mobilise support for segments of the population who were in particularly vulnerable situations, such as SMEs and microentrepreneurs. JP Morgan selected the European Microfinance Network (EMN) to manage the Fostering resilience in the COVID era technical assistance project, which aimed to build resilience of microentrepreneurs and microfinance institutions thanks to the network’s exceptional track record in providing technical support to microfinance institutions and its in-depth knowledge of the MSME sector. The project delivered over 31 technical assistance activities for six microfinance institutions in six different countries from June 2020 to June 2022, during the most challenging period of the Covid-19 pandemic. By June 2022, three other MFIs received support in developing their digital strategy.
The main issues that the MFIs were facing were:
- Limited or no possibility for MFI staff to work from the office or meet clients.
- Limited or no possibility for MFI clients to continue working, and unstable demand and workforce availability for both MFIs and their clients, due to peaks of Covid-19 leaving high shares of population ill and prolonged periods of travel restrictions.
To face these multiple challenges, the project helped MFIs design new tools and products and assist in revising the strategic plan and the organisational structure to adapt to emerging needs. Although the MFIs participating in this project differed greatly in terms of business model, institutional capacity, and area of operations, the provided technical assistance activities revolved around four macro-areas:
- Modifications in existing IT systems and tools to improve efficiency or to adapt to new product specifications.
- Development of digital interfaces or adoption of digital tools to move online part of the activities with clients and volunteers.
- Support diversification of fundraising strategy by identifying new funders or streams of income.
- Revise the training content and its delivery mode for staff, volunteers, and clients.
Click below to read their stories:
Read about the impact of the work done by EMN with South Africa’s Small Enterprise Foundation. The leading South African non-profit microfinance institution serving 213,625 clients (99 percent of whom are women) developed a programme of larger loans to support Micro, Small, and Medium enterprises. The programme also includes business development services.
Read about the impact of the work done by EMN with Brazil’s Credisol. Credisol is a Civil Society Organization of Public Interest (OSCIP) founded in 1999. It is a nonprofit institution that provides financial resources for self-employed workers and small businesses. The work done by EMN and JP Morgan helped Creidsol integrate digital tools into its workflow during the pandemic.
Learn about how Oportunitas, in partnership with Singlify and Qredits, set up a digital module to allow the organisation to manage and scale up its volunteer mentors programme efficiently. Oportunitas is a social microfinance institution based in Spain that creates opportunities by granting social microloans to entrepreneurs at risk of social or financial exclusion. In addition, Oportunitas offers non-financial services to vulnerable entrepreneurs.
Learn about how Adie learned to measure its social impact using the Social Return On Investment for its microloans. Adie is a recognized national association of public utility that defends the idea that everyone, even without capital or a diploma, can become an entrepreneur if the entrepreneur has access to credit and professional support.
Learn about how Permicro learned to optimise its management, helping its workforce coping with the new demands that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic. Permicro is a leading Italian Turin-based MFI. Founded in 2007, Permicro provides microcredit to businesses and families and non-financial services. Its mission is to create employment and social inclusion through the professional provision of credits, microcredits, financial education, and start-up/support services to businesses.