The aim of this training is to help microfinance practitioners, but also related support organisations, to make their services more inclusive and improve their support to immigrants and ethnic minorities by better understanding the impact of cultural differences and better communicating with this specific clientele.
A first general module will introduce participants to concepts of cultural diversity, intercultural communication, and highlight issues faced by the financial and business support practitioner in his daily work with the immigrant entrepreneur.
A second module will discuss main applications for microfinance and business support programmes: impact for the institution of working with immigrant or ethnic minority clients, marketing and outreach strategy, assessment and delivery of microloans, advising and mentoring process.
The training aims to be practical and interactive, with a lot of time for participants to share their ideas and experience.
As part of their aim to reduce social exclusion, microfinance programmes in Western Europe have reason to identify immigrants and ethnic minorities as one of their target groups. Because of discrimination and difficulties meeting the criteria set by potential employers, many immigrants remain excluded from the labour market. Having usually already demonstrated their enterprising nature by the very fact that they have managed to be self-starting enough to migrate to a new country, many see self-employment and the creation of their own enterprise as a way to earn a living.
Microlenders have removed many of the barriers immigrants and ethnic minority entrepreneurs face when seeking capital from the traditional sector by offering small loans, alternative guarantee options and flexible repayment plans. A 2005 survey carried out by EMN shows high and increasing proportions of applications from and loans to immigrant clients among Western European MFIs, confirming that this type of lending meets a real need. Nevertheless, a significant number of microlenders identify specific difficulties for immigrant micro-entrepreneurs in accessing microloans, among which cultural barriers is one of the main ones.
The present course aims to raise awareness about cultural diversity and its impact for microfinance programmes and related business support. Rather than provide solutions to problems, it proposes practical tools and gives an opportunity for participants to share their own experiences, to see what works and what doesn’t.
Module 1 – Intercultural self-awareness
Module 2 – Taking into account cultural diversity in microfinance and business support programmes
Impact of working with immigrant clients in the institution:
Assessing and delivering microloans:
Specificities of the advising and mentoring process:
Loan officers, business advisers, trainers, managers from microfinance programmes in EU and EEA countries. The first module can also be used for awareness raising among banks, business support organisations, social partners…