Social Merchant Bank Approach ®
Through its Social Merchant Bank Approach® (SMBA), S3IDF provides three bundled services: technology access and knowledge, and business development support to entrepreneurs and projects that supply pro-poor and pro-environment infrastructure and productive-use services. By working locally and providing comprehensive services, S3IDF not only addresses the need for infrastructure but does so in a way that leads to healthier and more self-reliant communities.
The SMBA addresses the problems facing the poor by simultaneously overcoming their lack of access to financing, knowledge of technologies and/or business experience.
Financial institutions typically avoid lending money to the working poor due to their lack of collateral, credit history and business track record. S3IDF’s SMBA leverages philanthropic and development capital to mobilize co-financing from local financial institutions, encouraging them to lend to the traditionally unbankable. To facilitate local financing, S3IDF utilizes a menu of “gap-filling” co-financing options: debt (primary and secondary), equity, and partial guarantees or other credit conditioning instruments. S3IDF provides this “gap-filling” financing support from a revolving fund (RF), which it operates often in conjunction with a local partner (such as a bank or other for-profit entity). Every dollar S3IDF invests typically leverages $2 – 4 in capital contributed by local entrepreneurs and banks (and in some cases by government subsidies and/or equipment suppliers).
Technology Access & Knowledge
S3IDF provides or arranges technology support to assist entrepreneurs in establishing viable enterprises. In some cases, S3IDF will strengthen or extend the technology supply chain by assisting these entities. S3IDF works with entrepreneurs to develop and/or integrate technology options, usually adapting off-the-shelf technology.
Business Development Support
S3IDF also provides entrepreneurs with commercial knowledge and technical know-how to develop viable business strategies and plans. S3IDF supports established enterprises or builds enterprises from the ground up, seeing them through their long term development.