FUELING SOCIAL IMPACT INITIATIVES IN GHANA: FINANCIERS WITHOUT BORDERS
Since 2011, IE Foundation supports entrepreneurship and financial inclusion in Ghana through Financieros sin Fronteras, an initiative launched by the IE Business School’s Academic Director of the Master in Finance programs, Professor Ignacio de la Torre.
Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) in Ghana are significant generators of employment, important livelihood strategies for women and low-skilled entrepreneurs, and drivers of the transition of resources from a firmly agriculture-based economy to a more diversified one. Nevertheless, several studies showed that they are not only not growing but also gaining a survival character, and the fact of not being served appropriately in terms of financial products and services contributes to it.
This challenge brought the opportunity to implement a simple idea. Doctors help through “doctors without borders,” architects through “architects without borders.” Why not do the same with financiers? By contributing to the knowledge of finance to enhance credit penetration in a frontier market, it is also possible to foster entrepreneurship, alleviate poverty, and increase social opportunities.
During the last ten years, faculty, students, and staff from the different Master in Finance Programs from IE Business School have provided ad-honorem technical assistance, capacity building, and facilitated access to new sources of financing to Ghanaian FNGOs, a type of MFI with the capacity to help the lowest-income entrepreneurs to build their path out of poverty. This exchange of expertise and know-how between the Academic and Financial world assists FNGOs to be better equipped to service low-income populations, sustain growth, and improve their opportunities for sound investments.
Students, Faculty, and Staff testimonials
“Undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Enhanced by the opportunity to share it with a group of people who put their knowledge, professional experience, and energy to help those in need”. Pablo Casadio, EXMDF 2012.
“I am very happy, honored, and thankful to have had the opportunity to collaborate in this project with Financieros sin Fronteras and to help microfinance institutions, local businesses, and people improve their lives.” Ricardo Martin Calabro (Spain). GMIF 2019.
“It is commendable that a graduate course at IE has the Ghana project as an option for the final exam. It is truly a unique learning opportunity for students — highlighting how finance & behavioral theory/academic knowledge can be immediately applied in practice in its truest essence”. Myrose Victor (Philippines). GMIF 2019.
“Teaching in Ghana is a very enriching experience both from a professional and personal point of view. It helped me reflect on the value of teaching and education and the many possibilities opened to our students to learn by helping others improve their living conditions. It is a great project where the IE community may contribute in many different ways”. Isabel Sanchez, IE Professor.
“It is amazing, challenging, and really inspiring to see the hunger to learn, improve their country and lead the destiny of Ghanaian people in general and microfinance institutions personnel in particular. Be able to contribute to it, is a privilege”. Maria López Escorial, IE Professor.
“Initiatives like Financieros sin Fronteras, which spread social action throughout the IE academic and business ecosystem, facilitate communication, not only externally through regular press releases and social media updates, but also internally, as IE staff see how their work impacts and is recognized within the corporate spirit of the institution.”Felix Valdivieso, Director de Comunicaciones, IE.
“Research that has an impact on the lives of the very poor through action has the potential to send the right message about IE University and the IE Schools to all our potential stakeholders. The IE community (students, faculty, staff, alumni) have already demonstrated, through their collaboration with Financieros sin Fronteras, that they are ready to contribute to financial inclusion by participating in innovative and disruptive research projects in Ghana”. Marco Trombetta, Professor of Accounting and Former Vice-Dean of Research at IE Business School
“Working with FSF and our students in Ghana was a gift. I truly feel that to make a tangible difference in the world, you need to get involved in solutions. Not only did we contribute to change other people’s lives but shaped us into more empathic individuals.” – Cristina Gil, Assistant – MIF, MIM Programs at IE University.