Our Work

Finance and Investment

Making finance and investment more accessible

When 65 million, or 40%, of all micro, small, and medium enterprises in developing economies do not have access to formal credit, the inequity becomes a major barrier to economic growth and prosperity. According to the World Bank, these same enterprises create 70% of formal jobs in emerging markets. [1] We help level the playing field for access to capital.

[1] World Bank: https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/smefinance

Approach and Expertise

We deliver cross-cutting services to improve financial systems and unlock capital to spur private sector growth—especially SMEs—around the world.

We work with both parties in the lending relationship—the business and the financial institutions—to bridge financing gaps. We increase the number of qualified borrowers and strengthen lending institutions.

  • We partner with the Development Credit Authority, USAID’s loan guarantee program, to increase lending to underserved markets and sectors.
  • Through successful use of loan guarantees, we demonstrate the commercial viability of SME lending in developing and emerging markets.
  • We have a particular focus on agriculture finance, educating institutions on how to lend to this sector and helping to develop financial products that benefit both bank and borrower.
  • We also increase the quality and availability of microfinance, putting more money in the hands of entrepreneurs, especially women.
  • We connect SMEs with social impact investors, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and others.

Our Work in Action

In Lebanon, we helped form the nation’s first microfinance association, which is now organizing, advocating, and improving financial services for the most vulnerable people in Lebanon.

In Mali, we deliver pre- and post-loan assistance to women-owned enterprises to make sure they have the tools necessary to responsibly grow their businesses and repay their loans on time.

In Costa Rica, we offered long-term, tailored assistance to a solar energy company to receive a $6.5 million loan from OPIC. With financing, the company is making affordable energy much more widely available in this eco-friendly country.

Our Impact:

$100 million

Loan applications processed with our advisory assistance across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East


Microfinance loans disbursed by partner institutions in Lebanon


Increase in use of USAID Development Credit Authority loan guarantee in Liberia

© 2008-2023 Improving Economies for Stronger Communities (IESC)