Despite the explosion of global capital flows into emerging markets in the past fifteen years, the vast majority of the poor in developing nations do not have access to formal banking and financial institutions. The provision of financial services for family businesses and low-income households in a commercially sustainable manner has emerged as a prime example of social entrepreneurship. FIPED explores how financial intermediaries for the "unbanked majority" can both earn profits and have positive impacts on the income, employment, and quality of life of their customers. This is commonly referred to as the "double bottom line," whereby bankers for the poor can create both private AND social value. FIPED demonstrates that "doing well by doing good" is more than just an aspiration, and that financial viability and poverty alleviation objectives can be complementary rather than contradictory.
FIPED is also unique in that it covers both microfinance and small and medium enterprise (SME) finance. Microfinance and SME finance are usually dealt with separately, but this course explores the lessons they offer each other: the similarities between these markets, especially in risk identification and mitigation; the key strategic and operational differences, particularly in product development and delivery systems; and the difficulties in graduating from microfinance to SME finance.