AVPN Global Conference 2023 | 20 - 22 June 2023


AVPN December Webinar: Making Microfinance Work

By Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN)





Date & time

13 December 2018



13 December 2018


About this event

Microfinance involves extending small loans, savings, insurance, fund transfers and other basic financial services to individuals, entrepreneurs and small businesses who don’t have access to capital. The aim of microfinance is financial inclusion; helping people living in poverty become financially independent, more resilient and better able to provide for their families.  Microfinance providers operate on the premise that those with low income are bankable and can be offered financial services in a sustainable way.

Critics, however, claim that microfinance worsens poverty through a cycle of debt or lack of required business skills and hasn’t had the desired impact on women empowerment. This webinar will explore the essence of microfinance, and models on how it works successfully in enabling meaningful economic participation and supporting establishment and growth of micro and small businesses.

In this webinar, the speakers will

  1. Discuss microfinance as a tool to achieve wider set of Sustainable Development Goals: promoting economic development, employment and growth
  2. Feature success stories and multifaceted approaches that have made microfinance successful (microfinance combined with financial literacy education, microbusiness incubation or job training)
  3. Discuss how to build a continuum of capital for microfinance clients – how to ensure they graduate to mainstream finance

About the Speakers

Shane Nichols
CEO, Good Return

Shane Nichols leads a multi-disciplinary team working on financial inclusion initiatives across Asia and the Pacific. He has been working in inclusive finance and enterprise development for the past eighteen years, having worked with dozens of microfinance institutions and social enterprises across the Asia Pacific region. Prior to joining Good Return, Shane worked for Australian Aid in China and Mongolia, on a range of economic and rural development initiatives with bilateral and multilateral stakeholders.

Matteo Marinelli
CEO, Maha Agriculture Microfinance

Matteo is a microfinance and commercial SME banking professional with a proven track record of 15 years in fixed income (loans, debt syndications, credit guarantees, local and hard currency bonds) and greenfield equity investments in the following regions: Eastern Africa, South Asia, South-East Asia, China and Mongolia. He has been based in Yangon, Myanmar, since December 2013. He’s currently the CEO of Maha Agriculture Microfinance, owned by Myanma Awba Group (Awba), the country’s largest agricultural group, and by the International Finance Corporation. Before joining Awba, Matteo spent more than 7 years with BlueOrchard Finance SA and was employed from May 2013 until December 2016 by the Singaporean investment firm Fullerton Financial Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings. He was first seconded in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the banking set-up of Cambodia Post Bank, a joint venture with Canadia Bank, and then seconded in Yangon, Myanmar, responsible for the set-up and day to day supervision of the microfinance entity Fullerton Myanmar.

About the Organisations

Good Return works across the Asia-Pacific region to enable those living in poverty to achieve economic empowerment. We work in partnership with low-income households, financial service providers, NGOs, national associations and financial regulators to research, design and implement game-changing initiatives for the poor.

Good Return works with and for those living in poverty, particularly women, who are seeking more meaningful economic participation. The outcomes we seek to achieve are mindful money and business management, and access to responsible finance for those living in poverty and small businesses that employ them.

The 3 key program areas are:
– Financial education and consumer empowerment
– Impact Investment
– eLearning for Responsible Inclusive Finance

Maha is an agriculture microfinance institution, owned by Myanma Awba Group and the International Finance Corporation. Maha operates a network of 32 branches across 8 regions of Myanmar by providing financial products such as agri-loans, vendor loans and MSME loans to the rural communities of Myanmar for their financial/working capital needs. As an agri-individual-lending-MFI, 90% of Maha portfolio goes to small holder farmers.

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