We are having our first Mi-fi Module in Georgia working together with the MFI Crystal. Two of our members, Noah and Stepanka are on their way to Kutaisi, to work together with the local Microfinance provider. The visit has two main goals – the first is to present some basic research and inputs on extension services and value chain finance. The second lies in an analysis and feedback on workflows and processes on the different products and services offered by Crystal.
Noah writing on his travels:
“As I am writing these lines I am waiting for my flight to take me to Tbilisi at the airport of Athens. Me and my colleague Stepanka Kralikova, are travelling to Georgia on behalf of Mi-fi in order to visit Crystal, a Microfinance institution (MFI) that operates from the town of Kutaissi in the utmost west of the country. In the upcoming two weeks, we will be witnessing the impact of Microfinance at first hand as we will visit the different branches of the banks and have the chance to meet some of those people whose businesses have been made possible through Microfinance. We will especially focus on value chain building through Microfinance, as the greatest impact can be achieved, if an MFI not only finances individual projects, but rather tries to create value chains within which small entrepreneurs can operate. A farmer can produce as much and as high quality as he wants, if the next step on the value chain is underdeveloped or lacks completely, it is not possible for the farmer benefit from his increase in production. The true challenge of Microlending is to create a functioning value chain that will henceforth benefit every link of the chain and therefore reduce the default risk for the lender. During the next weeks Stepanka and me will regularly keep you updated about our experiences in the Caucasus on this blog. Now I am thrilled to finally board the plane and, after all the theory about Microfinance, experience some practical Microfinance in action. Stay tuned!