Access to Capital

Capital is the engine that makes it possible for enterprises to grow, expand, and flourish. Connecting marketplace leaders to resources that are not readily accessible to them -- due to economic, social, or cultural barriers -- is a primary tenet of our work at Partners Worldwide. The Chinese proverb says “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” This is good wisdom in some instances, but often we encounter entrepreneurs who are brilliant and talented fishers, but simply lack access to the pond!

Providing access to affordable capital is one of the primary ways in which we build up permanent and resilient local capacity to catalyze entrepreneurs and jobs creators.

Partners Worldwide’s network consists of many LCIs that manage lending portfolios and many other LCIs who do not. Some manage millions of US dollars, while others manage only a few small loans. Cumulatively, our global network reports a total of $28 million managed in outstanding loans, fueling the dreams of thousands of entrepreneurs.

The massive flow of funds throughout the PW network is a key reason why our network supports over 120,000 jobs annually. But capital does not and should not stand alone. Our capital strategy is augmented by our business training and mentoring strategies; we always seek to diffuse capital in such a way that the dreams of entrepreneurs do not turn into nightmares.

A few best practices from the global network:

  • Develop clear expectations and guidelines regarding repayment, accountability, reporting, metrics, and an ongoing process for future access to capital.
  • Strong relationships and trust are the most essential element in facilitating access to capital. Keep in mind that introducing money always adds complexity to relationships.
  • Keep clear boundaries between lending programs and “ministry.” Unless a pastor/church leader has skills and experience in financial lending, he should not take on the role of a banker (just as a banker does not usually deliver sermons).
  • Local sustainability matters! Loan portfolios that are dependent upon funds from external sources do not generally survive more than five years, and rarely reach a point of thriving. Build your business plan based strongly on revenue interest obtained from local loans.

Just getting started?

  • Capital is complex. There are many types of capital beyond just money. In this excellent article from, Maureen Kline describes The 6 Kinds of Capital Your Business Can’t Survive Without
  • This 4 minute video on Microfinance 101 from our friends at PovertyCure is a good introduction to how and why microfinance can be an effective way to end poverty.
  • If your LCI is not currently managing loans, but would like to explore working in the lending arena, please contact your Partnership Manager to discuss ways to make access to affordable capital a reality for the clients you serve.


Want to go deeper?


Please email if you have any questions.