Reinforcing Med Microfinance Network System for Start-ups

ReSt@rts Unlocks Access to Finance for non-bankable Entrepreneurs in the Mediterranean Basin

Many developing countries are marked by substantial unbanked populations with no access to a formal financial system. While some refuse to be banked on their own accord, others are simply excluded against their will. In this case, these individuals become part of the ‘non-bankable’ population, restricted by financial, geographical, or demographical barriers. This is an increasingly growing issue among young people, in particular, many of whom are unable to afford fees and minimum deposit requirements or lack the necessary documentation.

Fundamentally, non-bankable youth are left with no access to appropriate, affordable, and timely financial products and services such as loans, savings, insurance, and equity. This, in turn, hinders entrepreneurship and innovation due to credit constraints and no access to finance. As a result, even if a non-banked individual has an entrepreneurial idea, they will usually forego that path in favour of safe, stable conventional income-generating jobs. 

In order to mitigate these constraints and foster inclusive economic opportunities, ReSt@rts project, funded by the European Union under the ENI CBD MED Programme, facilitates access to finance for non-bankable youth in the Mediterranean countries to help them pursue their entrepreneurial visions. 

To amplify impact, Rest@rts capitalises on ENI CBC MED Programme’s MEDst@rts project to extend efforts in fostering financial inclusion through sustainable access to finance. Specifically, it develops MEDst@rts insights and studies and establishes channels for the Micro-finance Providers’ network to exchange knowledge and best practices. Rest@rts also creates a digital platform that lists available microfinance schemes and acts as a marketplace for providers and seekers of financial and non-financial support. In doing so, the project will streamline the process for both ends and ensure sustainable impact going forward, beyond the project’s lifespan.

Overall, inclusive access to finance is not only important for social inclusion but also for economic growth. This is especially the case in developing countries with highly non-banked populations, who, when given the means, could fuel entrepreneurship, innovation, job creation, and overall private sector development.

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