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Micro Loans to Women Entrepreneurs in the Developing World

Tracey Horner, CEO of Lendwithcare, addressing the annual SIGBI Conference in 2023

Swindon Soroptimists and Microfinance

Lendwithcare is a microfinancing initiative from Care International, an organisation that has been fighting poverty since 1945. In Care International’s own words, it “places a special focus on working alongside women and girls. Equipped with the proper resources, women and girls have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty.”

What is Microfinance?

Microfinance refers to financial services for low-income clients. Although most attention has been on the provision of small loans, microfinance includes the provision of other basic financial services such as savings, money transfer and insurance and is often accompanied with financial literacy and business training. Improving access to such services allows low-income people to finance income-generating activities, build assets, stabilise consumption and protect against risks. Microfinance can play an important role in improving the lives of low-income and marginalised people.

Microfinance is seen as a long-term and more sustainable approach to helping low-income people. Many consider microfinance to be a ‘hand up rather than a hand out’ as it focuses directly on helping low-income people to work and become more self-sufficient.

'About Microfinance' (Lendwithcare webpage)

Swindon Soroptimists Supporting Lendwithcare

Our club members have been supporting Lendwithcare for over a decade, by regularly donating small sums primarily to women, chosen from those spotlighted on the internet site as seeking a loan. As each loan is re-paid it can be re-invested by the member to help another woman to improve her business, for the benefit of herself, her children and her community.

Lendwithcare provides an option for lenders to group together with friends and family, work colleagues or people from other social networks to form ‘Lending Teams’. These ‘Lending Teams’ allow members to track the collective impact of their loans. Users in lending teams still make loans individually as normal, but their loans can be attributed to a lending team, in addition to still being recorded individually. This gives team members the opportunity to track the combined impact of the team on poverty, alongside their own separate personal impact.

On 31 March 2012, three members formed a “Lending Team” under the name of Swindon Soroptimists, so that members could track their collective impact. Since then, our team’s loans have supported 105 entrepreneurs, helped 412 family members, and created 133 jobs.

Click on Swindon Soroptimists Lending Team to sign up to the team. You can also find the team by searching for Swindon Soroptimists at