Help, risk and deceit: Microentrepreneurs talk about microfinance
Regional Professional Studies
Regional Professional Studies CSESS
Microenterprise lending has emerged as an important development strategy internationally. Its goal is to support micro and small businesses as motors for impoverished local economies and to build sustainable microfinance organizations to serve these businesses. This article explores the experiences of microentrepreneurs in Sucre, Bolivia to probe the relationships underlying the microenterprise lending process. This study illustrates how these ostensibly commercial transactions were grounded in complex assumptions about social development, external assistance and power. The article illustrates the divide between ‘developers’ and the ‘developed’ in their shared quest to ‘help businesses grow’, and concludes that building strong lending institutions does not automatically translate into broad-based benefits for microentrepreneurs or their businesses.