The Bentley Microfinance Group is a principally student run organization that falls under Bentley’s 501(c)3 non-profit classification. Charged with managing its loan fund, BMG targets lending to local entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Greater Boston area who have found the traditional means of accessing capital closed to them.
“The Bentley Microfinance Initiative (BMI) is a unique collaboration between students, faculty, staff and other members of the Bentley community that has been designed to raise awareness of microfinance issues on campus and throughout the Boston area. Students can participate in this effort through classes, the Bentley Microfinance Group, and by actively managing the Fund that lends money to local entrepreneurs who are largely underserved by more traditional financial service firms. BMI provides a unique learning environment combining the traditional classroom with hands-on experiences through which students can put what they learn into practice.”
Roy (Chip) Wiggins III
Dean of Business and the Graduate School of Business
Director of the Bentley Microfinance Initiative
BMG’s mission is to raise awareness about and to integrate the practice of microfinance into our Bentley and Boston communities through four key focuses:
- Provide Bentley students, faculty and staff with practical experience, encourage their awareness of microfinance practices, empower them to develop a framework for change and facilitate the education of the borrowers from BMG to extend the academic community.
- Community Development:
- Promote development of the local community by providing credit and services to those excluded from traditional financial markets.
- Operational Sustainability:
- Operate and maintain a cash-flow neutral/positive loan portfolio, covering or exceeding operational expenses with interest income and student sweat equity.
- Develop a new microfinance paradigm locally and openly scale the model globally.
The Initiative has grown to include three major components:
1.The Curricular Component
- Courses have been developed to give students a deeper understanding of the role microfinance has in the real world.
- Students have the opportunity to participate in a directed study of microfinance in Ghana or intern in Ghana at either Chapter 58 Trust or ACCION.
- Elective courses including seminars in microfinance.
2.The Microfinance Initiative
- The fund is almost completely student-managed
- The organization has over 60 members to manage and ensure the success of the fund.
- Members reach out to organizations in the Greater Boston area to provide loans.
- The governance within the group includes the Strategic Advisory Board, the Loan Approval Board, and the Student Executive Board.
3. The Bentley Microfinance Review
- Undergraduate peer reviewed academic journal focused on microfinance, community development, and microenterprice.
- Day to day operations run by Bentley students.
- Single blind editorial process by distinguished faculty and students.