You can download the presentations of the fringe meetings by clicking on the name of the speaker
The portal eSimplu.ro is one of the most important governmental instruments for small and medium-sized enterprises and liberal professions in Romania. Esimplu.ro is a platform of services for SMEs, through which they can have web presence by means of microportals, choose to open e-shops, have access to e-learning modules and interact with public and private national and international institutions and NGOs that act to the benefit of SMEs. Last but not least, the portal esimplu.ro provides its users with a unique service in Romania – benchmarking.
The current market conditions have created new challenges that small business must overcome. Consequently, doing business via the Internet is an alternative that gains more and more ground, with the portal esimplu.ro serving this precise ambitious purpose, while aiming at becoming the Romanian SME sector one-stop-shop. Participants in this meeting had the opportunity to learn from experts involved in this project about the most important results and case studies related to the companies that have chosen to deal with the current economic challenges together with the portal esimplu.ro
Facilitator : Aldo Pomponi (APC Consulting - Italy)
The participants in the workshop discussed the legal and regulatory constraints to the offering of financial services to microenterprises and low-income people in Italy. They also analyzed reforms in other EU countries that have lead to more enabling policy and regulatory frameworks for increasing access to finance, in order to identify appropriate policies to increase access to finance in Italy and investigate the opportunity to promote voluntary self-regulation among the members of RITMI and other microfinance providers. They also drafted a rough agenda to involve policy makers and relevant stakeholders to debate adequate policies and regulatory reforms.
- Moderator : Simone di Castri (CGAP / The World Bank – USA)
- Speakers : Mario Martelli (Prime Minister's Office (PMO) - Italy); Sabina Siniscalchi (Fondazione Culturale Responsabilità Etica- Italy)
As recession bites, it is becoming more and more important to create jobs through microenterprises and to combat financial exclusion. COPIE is a network of Managing Authorities and Implementing bodies in the ESF who are working in a transnational network to build up best practice on how to use ESF across a range of aspects of entrepreneurship. COPIE has a particular focus on widening the choices available through enterprise to disadvantaged and excluded people and to those under-represented in enterprise.
One of the four COPIE 2 domains is focused on access to finance and is working on both microfinance for entrepreneurs and promoting financial inclusion. This workshop explored the current state of play in using mainstream ESF and ERDF by exploring how MFIs such as Adie and Obra Social de Caixa Catalunya have succeeded in using ESF to support their lending activities. It went on to explore how more MFIs can access more funding in more places in these critical times. The workshop was interactive and gave MFIs an opportunity to explore how they can increase their access to funds.
- Moderator : Bettina Reuter (Federal Ministry of labour - Germany)
- Speaker : Peter Ramsden (COPIE - UK); Brigitte Maas (DMI – Germany)
The aim of this workshop was to discuss the socio-economic impact that microcredit programmes have on participants’ lives (with particular attention to women), by looking at the changes occurred in the lives of beneficiaries from the moment they take part in a microcredit programme. Changes may occur in beneficiaries’ consumption levels, savings behaviour, food and housing conditions etc.
- Moderator : Elio Silva (Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy)
- Speakers : Paula Veciana (Fundació Caixa Catalunya - Spain); Marcella Corsi (Ph.D., La Sapienza University of Rome - Economical Sciences Department and member of the Scientific Committee of FRD – Italy); Ewa Bankowska (MFC - Poland); Micol Pistelli (MIX - USA); Fabrizio Botti (Fonsazione Risorsa Donna - Italy)
Meeting powered by the Levi Strauss Foundation
While the last decade has witnessed a general improvement in income among the world’s working poor, there has been a growing asset divide in most parts of the world. Today, asset inequality dwarfs income inequality worldwide. Asset building is a relatively new field that seeks solutions to intergenerational poverty. While most economic development approaches focus on income generation, asset building focuses on public policies and programmes that enable low-income working people to accumulate assets that compound in value over time.
In Europe, the Levi Strauss Foundation started funding Asset Building pilots in 2005 and became a strategic partner of the new economics foundation in London to help promote, test, and scale up Asset Building programmes adapted to the European circumstances. Based on the funded pilots, the Indigo Programme has recently been born to facilitate and speed up research, knowledge sharing, piloting, up-scaling and public policy work in the field of Asset Building in Europe.
- Moderator : David Williams (new economics foundation – UK)
- Speakers : Bob Friedman (CFED - U.S); Sargon Nissan (new economics foundation - UK); Jean-Claude Rodriguez Ferrera (Comunidades Autofinanciadas CAF - Spain)
The fringe meeting was oriented on two main subjects:
- North-South peer to peer lending in microfinance
P2P lending websites represent a refinancing tool to provide MFIs with a low-cost source of credit. Such websites aim to have a social impact by allowing MFIs to increase their loan portfolio and thereby reach more people traditionally excluded from the formal banking system. In the long-term, such websites hope the low-cost source of credit will ultimately lower interest rates charged by MFIs to microentrepreneurs. How did North-South P2P lending emerge, and how does it work? What are the different mechanisms and main stakes of these new websites? What are the key technical and regulatory constraints faced?
- North-North peer to peer lending in Europe
Today, a lot of websites propose P2P lending between European individuals whereby the lender earns interest on their loan but social peer to peer lending doesn’t exist in Europe. What are the perspectives and future of peer to peer “micro lending” in Europe? How will P2P lending within Europe develop and expand? Will it also develop on a model of solidarity? A key constraint includes the strict regulatory environment within Europe
- Facilitator: Julia Sandoval (Babyloan – France)
Publishing data on lending activities helps lending institutions be accountable for their actions and transparent in their activities. It helps identify lending exclusion and offer opportunities to policy makers and practitioners to target underinvested areas.
In the USA Banks have to prove that they are not excluding communities by publicly disclosing where they lend and how much they are charging people. By using this data and working with government and communities an estimated $4.5 trillion has been invested into poor and excluded communities by the banking sector through community finance and microfinance intermediaries since 1977.
Fair Finance has started a campaign to promote disclosure of all lending institutions through its own online disclosure http://www.fairfinance.org.uk/disclosure.html to show how easy it is to do. In partnership with their web designers they shared their knowledge and experience and promoted their concept to all microfinance practitioners so that microfinance can be transparent, accountable and show what fair finance means.