The theme of the 4th Annual San Diego Microfinance Summit was Innovation and Technology. It was a day rich in both conceptual discussion and direct support of local microfinance efforts. Organized by the San Diego Microfinance Alliance, the event drew over 200 attendees and focused on exploring cutting-edge developments in microfinance models and technological advances among borrower and microfinance institutions. Lively discussions began the evening prior to the Summit as attendees met the speakers and panelists at a mixer hosted at The Ritual Tavern. The Summit itself started with a high-energy networking breakfast with over 15 partner organizations presenting information about their microfinance-related services. Following breakfast was a keynote presentation by Chris Dunford, Senior Research Fellow and former president of Freedom from Hunger. Dunford’s comments on the intersection between technology and innovation emphasized the continued need for human connection even as technological advances are implemented in previously marginalized populations. Rob Gailey of Point Loma Nazarene University moderated a panel comprised of microfinance borrowers with the conversation focusing on their use technology to reach their market and grow their businesses. Represented in the panel were: MIHO Gastrotruck, Empowered Energy Solutions, Emani Hair Braiding, Carrera Design, and Victoire Chocolat. Watch a video of the keynote session or download the details of the participants in the client panel.
Attendees dined on a lunch meal provided by local microfinance borrowers while shopping in the Marketplace for items ranging from scarves to breakfast bars, baby clothes to bracelets. Participants put their money where their heart is by purchasing goods and services from the 40+ microfinance borrowers who set up booths and sold items during the Marketplace. Support these clients now by checking out this listing of the 2012 Summit Marketplace vendors and other client participants.
The breakout sessions in the afternoon were equally dynamic with topics ranging from the proper pricing of microfinance products to the most effective implementation of technology within microfinance institutions. Chuck Waterfield of Microfinance Transparency emphasized the importance of transparency among practitioners when determining pricing for loan programs among various populations during one of the afternoon sessions. Maika Hemphill of Kiva participated in the “Technology in Microfinance” panel discussion along with Peg Ross of The Grameen Foundation and Joshua Miller with ACCION Texas, Inc. The dialogue centered on the use of technology among microfinance institutions and the work that is being done to increase efficiencies and decrease overhead costs. The “Innovation in Microfinance Models” panel included Sean Carpenter of PCI, Sara Smith of the International Rescue Committee, and Joanna Wasmuth of Erase Poverty with discussions focusing on new programs and initiatives among their respective organizations.
The San Diego Microfinance Alliance would like to thank the attendees, presenters, and other supporters who made the 2012 San Diego Microfinance Summit possible. A special thanks to Nyles who contributed some of the photos for the site. We appreciate the numerous partnerships that have been built among microfinance institutions, donors, educators, students, and other interested community members to promote awareness and raise the profile of this important industry and look forward to continuing the dialogue in future events!
If you attended the 2012 summit, we’d love to hear what was most meaningful for you or your organization. Please take a moment to leave a comment!
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