8th EMN Annual Conference

Complementing microfinance with sustainable non-financial services: But, who will pay the ferryman?

The European Microfinance Network (EMN) will hold its 8th Annual Conference in Amsterdam on June 9th and 10th, 2011 at the Beurs van Berlage, the former Amsterdam Stock Exchange. The Conference will be opened by HRH Princess Máxima of the Netherlands in her capacity of UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, and Member of the Dutch Council on Microfinance .
With core funding from the European Commission and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, the intention of the conference is to be a meeting of minds, ideas and experiences. Over 350 participants are expected to attend, including EMN member organisations, speakers, and representatives of other institutions active in the microfinance sector.

South - North exchange

Many microfinance services providers in Europe tend to look for ideas and solutions mainly within European borders. But outside of Europe, there is a wealth of experience ready to be shared. Therefore, this year microfinance practitioners from both Europe and developing countries beyond European borders will be invited to share, exchange and challenge best practices in microfinance.
The conference aims to achieve in-depth and interactive sharing through plenary sessions, workshops, roundtable meetings, and open space dialogue. An investors' market, to be launched on the first day, will provide new microfinance institutions (MFIs) and financiers the opportunity to meet and discuss new ventures.
Furthermore, at the EMN Laboratory, a number of guest experts will work out a strategy to deal with current challenges in a specific business case representative of the microfinance sector in Europe.

Two central themes: Microfinance and BDS - a complete and sustainable package for entrepreneurs?

In almost all EU-countries, microfinance is offered in combination with additional business development services: training, advice, counselling and coaching – for instance in the Netherlands. Only in a limited number of cases, sustainable funding is available for such services from both European and national sources.

Beyond Europe, there is also an increasing focus on complementary and additional non-financial services. Here too, a crucial question needs to be answered: how to finance such services in a sustainable way?

To address these questions, the conference will focus on two central themes:

  • What is the best format to provide non-financial services (capacity building, advice, orientation) to microfinance clients and above all: how will these services be financed?
  • What lessons should EU based MFIs learn from the microfinance experience outside Europe in combining microfinance with non-financial services?