Article | Stanford Social Innovation Review

In Microfinance, Clients Must Come First

by Srikant M. Datar, Marc J. Epstein and Kristi Yuthas


In the debate over whether microfinance works, few microfinance institutions articulate what, exactly, their ultimate goals are and how, exactly, they will achieve them. The authors cut through the confusion by mapping a clear theory of change for microfinance. If the goal of microfinance is to alleviate poverty, they say, then MFIs should focus on helping their clients build successful enterprises, rather than on making more and bigger loans.

Keywords: Business Startups; Customer Focus and Relationships; Social Entrepreneurship; Microfinance; Goals and Objectives; Success; Social Enterprise; Poverty;


Datar, Srikant M., Marc J. Epstein, and Kristi Yuthas. "In Microfinance, Clients Must Come First." Stanford Social Innovation Review 6, no. 1 (Winter 2008).