New platform to raise loans for micro-entrepreneurs - SMEinfo April 2013

Source : SMEinfo

Pi Slice, a microfinance crowdfunding platform for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), has been officially launched in partnership with European microcredit platform – a subsidiary of the PlaNet Finance Group. The web portal allows individuals and corporations in the region to lend to MENA-based microfinance institutions (MFIs), and in turn, fund projects and micro-entrepreneurs supported by the MFIs.

“The MENA region is home for 270 million people – 26% with less than $2 a day; that’s around 90 million people,” says Genny Ghanimeh, CEO of Dubai-based Pi Slice. “Six million households are eligible for microfinance loans but only half of them have access to available funding, which leaves us with $3.5 billion in growth loan portfolio” – a gap the company is trying to bridge.

As opposed to a typical crowd-funding model, the investment through Pi Slice is in the form of loans. The website features profiles of micro-entrepreneurs/projects supported by the MFIs. Investors can support a project of interest by lending to the relevant MFI through the portal.

Pi Slice has already reached agreements with four MFIs across the region: Al Majmoua in Lebanon, the Arab Centre for Agricultural Development (ACAD) in Palestine, Microfund for Women (MFW) in Jordan, and more recently, one in Iraq. It is also exploring opportunities in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

The company also plans to launch a Pi Entrepreneur competition for university students in the region.