Using an innovative financial model that mobilizes idle capital to guarantee loans, MicroCredit Enterprises (MCE) is a not-for-profit organization that builds on the success of microfinance as a proven international poverty reduction strategy. Rather than focusing on donations, MCE uses a Guarantor’s credit and financial strength to borrow money commercially to fund loans to poor women in developing countries. In fact, their focused social mission includes a concentration on serving women and individuals living in rural areas, and those that offer non-financial services like health services or business training.
MicroCredit Enterprises is uniquely focused on families living in remote areas and in extreme poverty — often on $1 per day or less. Through loans to 51 microfinance institutions in 21 different countries, MCE has reduced poverty for tens of thousands of the most impoverished women around the globe, ensuring food security for their children and sustainable futures for their families. Women make up 80% of individual borrowers served by local lenders in MicroCredit Enterprises’ portfolio.
CAJU Industrie S.A
CAJU Industrie S.A. (CAJU), a borrower of MCE Social Capital, is a cashew nut processing business based in Kolia, Côte d’Ivoire. Many rural communities in Côte d’Ivoire like Kolia depend largely on raw cashew nut farming for income, but lack sufficient access to markets to make a decent profit from their work. These communities often lack opportunities for formal employment, leaving them highly susceptible to food insecurity during the “hungry season,” a few months after the harvest season when food stocks are at their lowest.
CAJU addresses these barriers by sourcing raw cashew nuts from local farmers and transforming them into processed cashew kernels for export. This work connects farmers to international markets, creates jobs and steady incomes, and improves food security.
Mrs. Kone, a native of Kolia, founded CAJU in 2011. Her husband, who served as mayor of Kolia for 27 years, has a strong connection with the villagers and is the majority shareholder of the business along with Mrs. Kone. Together, they work to create more jobs and economic opportunity for the people of their native village.
With financing from MCE Social Capital, Mrs. Kone will be able to double CAJU’s production output and hire about twice as many workers, approximately 200, from the surrounding region.
Praxis Mutual Funds® supports organizations such as MicroCredit Enterprises through investments in Calvert Impact Capital, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1% of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.