Microfinance set for a boom, say not-for-profit investors

Specialist not-for-profit fund manager predicts more money will be invested in microfinance

The amount of charity money in microfinance and other forms of mission-connected investment will rise sharply over the next few years, the largest specialist charity fund manager has predicted.

Helen Wildsmith, head of ethical and responsible investment at not-for-profit fund manager CCLA, said her organisation expected to increase significantly its investment in microfinance, which provides small sums of start-up capital to establish new businesses, in the next two to three years.

She told Third Sector many charity trustees had been reluctant to get involved in microfinance and similar investments because there had been relatively few funds to invest in and few tools to measure their effectiveness.

Other social investment specialists also said they were seeing more money moving into microfinance areas.

CDC, a government-owned not-for-profit lender that invests in developing world economies, said it was receiving an increasing amount of investment from charities, including a large investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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