Starting in the beginning of 2019, when the cooperation with our former partner organization on Bali named WKP Foundation ended, we were looking for new ways to continue our work in the capital Denpasar to enable people in poverty to live a better and self-determined life. Through our collaboration with WKP Foundation, a friendship developed with Sanna, the project manager for our microloans at that time, which lived on even after the collaboration ended.
In the meantime, Sanna became chairman of the board of bprSIWI, a small bank in Bali. Through the lively exchange with our founder and CEO Tobias, the idea of a renewed cooperation emerged, with the aim of doing something against the ever-increasing poverty of the people. A new cooperation was born. “We combine what we’re good at,” says Tobias, “and help people whom, even though they have their own small businesses, no bank would allow to get loans or even a bank account because they have no collateral and are simply too poor.”
Combining strengths and pursuing a common goal
Now that Sanna is CEO of a small bank, he wants to help his fellow countrymen living in poverty and give small business owners new perspectives. “It’s a dream come true for me,” Sanna says. “In my role as CEO of a bank, and together with the 6 years of experience GMI has gained in Southeast Asia, we can reach people through this new cooperation where it would not have been legally possible at all before.”
In our collaboration with bprSIWI, we are uniting the skills and infrastructure of a bank, Sanna’s empathy and his years of experience working with aid organizations, and our experience from our previous work in Southeast Asia.
“The focus is on the long-term business development of the small entrepreneur,” Tobias explains. “GMI provides the money for the microloans, workshops, training and personal counseling. bprSIWI proposes small entrepreneurs for microloans, bears the associated administrative costs, visits the microloan recipients weekly, conducts the counseling and training, disburses the microloans, receives the repayment installments for them, and helps the small entrepreneurs, who often only have a sales table or small stall, to find ways to save small amounts of money and thus set the course for a better future.”
8 microloans have already been granted this way and the first training sessions have been held. People like our small entrepreneurs, who have no collateral, are not allowed to get loans from a bank – not even to set up a small business. Their only option is to take out loans at usurious interest rates from dubious lenders. bprSIWI can now grant microloans financed by us to people living in poverty through our cooperation. At the same time, through the workshops we offer, by teaching basic business skills and through seminars, we create the opportunity for small entrepreneurs to get to know each other, to learn from one another, to exchange experiences, to network and to grow as entrepreneurs in the long term.
Offering more perspective through our new cooperation
“With the new cooperation, we can help even more people living in poverty,” Tobias explains enthusiastically. “A big challenge in the past was that often small entrepreneurs whom we had facilitated several microloans eventually became too successful for our microloan program and we had difficulties connecting them with regular banks, as banks preferred clients with collateral rather than aspiring small entrepreneurs. With the new collaboration, however, we have a bank right by our side. Now we can not only teach small business owners basics like accounting, saving, and marketing and assist them with challenges. When their business performs well and is successful in the long term, they even have the opportunity to grow further and open a business bank account if they want to with our new partner.”
We are especially pleased that in the meantime our two Indonesian partners, bprSIWI in Bali and Gema Alam in Lombok, have connected with each other to share experiences and knowledge.