For these reasons, the majority of formal financial institutions do not consider the poor to be creditworthy. Hard-working poor entrepreneurs often find themselves forced to deal with usurious money lenders and loan sharks. Microfinance - and specifically, microenterprise development or "small business development" - offers the poor an opportunity to access small amounts of loan capital and start their own businesses.
At endPoverty.org, we use microfinance as a platform for improving education, healthcare, and housing and transforming entire communities. In other words, we don't see microfinance as our final "product", but a way to create new resources and opportunities for people who are trapped in poverty. Growing small businesses allow the poor to earn an income with dignity, send their children to school and look after sick relatives. They enable our local partners and loan clients to start orphanages, schools, and HIV/AIDS clinics.
Microfinance, especially when used to build up impoverished communities, is a proven and effective strategy in combating poverty.