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  • Grameen Foundation and Microsoft bring Microfinance Leadership Summit on Technology to India

    Published on November 17, 2010

    New Delhi: Grameen Foundation and Microsoft Corp. today announced the India launch of a joint initiative to help accelerate microfinance’s impact on poverty alleviation through the strategic use of technology. As part of this collaboration, which was announced during the Microfinance Leadership Summit in New Delhi, India, Microsoft will donate software worth up to US$1million to eligible microfinance NGOs that attended the event. Titled, “Fueling Growth: Strategic Technology for Microfinance,” the summit was cosponsored by Grameen Foundation and Microsoft, in partnership with the ACCESS Deveopment Services of India.

    The summit brought together executive management teams from more than 50 leading MFIs to provide them with a new framework for strategically adopting and using technology to expand their financial services to more poor households. Through education and mentorship, Microsoft and Grameen Foundation empowered practicioners with the tools to increase their reach, efficiency and transparency in reporting on financial and social performance indicators. Local programs and resources in India will support MFIs in continuing improvements in their technology investments.

    During the summit, attendees also received practical advice on how to effectively use technology. Additionally, they explored new tools and systems that are yet to be fully adopted across the microfinance industry, ranging from business intelligence tools, and mobile computing to automated social monitoring and cloud-based banking systems. Equally important, the summit provided MFIs with the opportunity to forge new relationships with industry partners, service providers and funders they need to maximize their success.

    “Every nonprofit is faced with the challenge of doing more with less. Technology can help, but NGOs must advance their technological capabilities, and technology providers must ensure that today’s innovations are affordable and accessible,” commented Vikas Goswami, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility forMicrosoft. “Microsoft meets this challenge in two key ways. First, by donating software to more than 40,000 nonprofits each year, helping them establish stable and secure IT platforms. Second, by working very closely with key partners that can provide domain or technical expertise to the nonprofit community to make that technology as effective as possible. By working closely with Grameen Foundation, we hope to bring the benefits of technology to microfinance institutions around the world.”

    “Technology is a critical factor in a microfinance institution’s ablility to scale and better serve the poor. Microsoft and Grameen Foundation, as catalysts for change, can help microfinance executives leverage new innovations, like cloud computing, and ensure a measureable return on their technology investments,” said Matt Duncan, director of market development for Grameen Foundation’s Technology for Microfinance initiative. “With India being one of the most dynamic microfinance markets today, we believe it is critical to demonstrate here how technology can dramtically improve the industry’s effectiveness in serving more of the world’s poor and increasing transparency in reporting on their work.”

    The Grameen Foundation’s Seattle-based Technology Center has been a leader in spearheading innovative technology solutions for the microfinance industry. As part of its Technology for Microfinance initiative, it has developed Mifos (www.mifos.com), an award-winning cloud-based software service for microfinance. In India, Grameen Foundation works with local developers and other implementation partners to support growing demand in that country.

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