The loan process

Currently, BigDent works in Nairobi, Kenya, in the Mathare Valley slum. We have a working partnership with Missions of Hope International that provides local oversight in the receiving and use of microfinance funds.

Potential entrepreneurs are identified through existing social and personal networks and public meetings. These individuals include people who are willing to start a new business as well as entrepreneurs with existing businesses. As they begin the microloan process, these individuals form groups that meet weekly for training and accountability.

As a group, they save money, establish a group constitution and leaders, and initiate 8 weeks of business and moral integrity training. After completion of that training, the loan approval process begins. The entire group and a BigDent loan officer assess and approve each entrepreneur's business plan and loan request.

As with all microfinance programs around the world, there is interest charged on the loans, although at a much lower rate than what is charged by private lenders. The interest is used to help fund (but not fully offset) the expenses of the program.

Loan repayments start immediately. Savings continue as the group maintains weekly meetings and accountability to one another. Missions of Hope and BigDent personnel continue with training, mentoring, and support to ensure that these new business owners will achieve success.

The initial loans range anywhere from a few dollars to approximately $275. Additional loans for proven entrepreneurs who have repaid their initial loans can be for larger amounts. All loans are co-guaranteed by the members of the group. Because of the accountability of these groups, BigDent has experienced a loan repayment rate of 98%.

Sign up for our e-newsletter