HOME What is microfinance  Microfinance is  defined as financial services for those individuals at the bottom of the pyramid (typically those individuals  which live on less than $2 a day, which accounts for c.45% of the world population).  Microfinance includes services such as  loans, savings, insurance, pension and remittance products. Microfinance allows entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs to access much needed financial products and services to  expand or make their local businesses, which without, would have to access financial products from moneylenders at  significantly high rates. With access to financial products and services, individuals start to expand their small businesses, generating further income  for their household, enhancing their own and their family’s quality of life whilst contributing to the local economy – Lonestep  calls this a Rippleeffect. History of microfinance  Modern microfinance in its formal form has been in existence since the 1980’s, with the inception of the Grameen Foundation  of Bangladesh. Although microfinance can be traced as far back as to the 1800’s.  In the last 30 years microfinance has seen the emergence of microfinance institutions, equating to some 10,000 globally with  average repayment rates of c.97%+. In many cases this is greater than banks in the western and other developed markets.   This proves microfinance to be a risk manageable and profitable business and a critical development tool, generating income  for individuals and their families, trade between local markets, job creation and improved education and living standards.   Microfinance today  It is estimated that the global market for microfinance is c.$250bn and it is estimated that to date only c.10% of the capital  needed has been provided to the target market.   Significant strides over the last 5 years have been taken in bridging the gap between the capital markets and microfinance  with the emergence of IPOs, bond issuances and equity investments in the sector which has been led by the more larger  developed banks and development finance institutions. Lonestep seeks continue to further strengthen the bridge between the capital markets and the microfinance sector and will be  focused on delivering superior returns to its investors whilst supporting financial and social inclusion. Home HOME > Impact Investments > About Microfinance Copyright 2010 Lonestep GmbH, Beethovenstr. 49, CH 8022 Z├╝rich, Switzerland Delivering superior returns whilst supporting financial and social inclusion