International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Bottom-Up Business Development: Empowering Low Income Societies through Microfinance and Mobile Technologies
Dr. Alice S. Etim

The literature overwhelmingly includes SSA both in the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) and the Bottom Billion population in all indices of development including telecommunications (Collier, 2007; Donner, 2008; Easterly, 2006; Hammond et al, 2007; Hart, 2005; Prahalad and Hart, 1999; Prahalad& Hammond, 2002; Prahalad, 2006; Sachs, 2005; U.N. Secretary-General Off the Cuff, 2008; World Bank, 2008; World Resources Institute, 2007). An average person in the BOP lives on less than two U.S. dollars ($2.00) per day, have limited or no access to any form of banking services/credit and technology (Collier, 2007; Sachs, 2005; World Bank, 2008; World Resources Institute, 2007). This paper reports two studies. An earlier study on bank financing of small businesses is reported first; it was found that althoughsmall scale industrialists (SSIs) that participated in the study had great interest in First Bank of Nigeria loan programs (82%) they were not able to borrow funds from the Bank because of stringent lending policies. More than 76 percent of respondents indicated that First Bank lending policies were either difficult or very difficult to meet. These SSIs lacked the collateral that First Bank needed them to provide as guarantee for the loans and as such, the Bank considered them as being high risk for bank funds. A bottom up effort to overcome the credit crisis in the BOP of Sub Saharan Africa was uncovered in a case study of women entrepreneurs in 2009. Unlike the entrepreneurs or SSIs in the 1988 study, the contemporary entrepreneurs are using the banking system to their advantage. Individually, the womenentrepreneurs that wereinterviewed had no bank loan. However, as members in a Cooperative Society nicknamed, “NkaIban”, they had access to bank funds through a pool of money in their Society; such pool of money from the women served as the much needed collateral by the bank.Mobile Technology was also found to be an enabler. With their basic mobile phones, the women were able to coordinate their Cooperative Society activities including meetings and fund distributions, made calls to schedule business appointments with clients, talked with the dealers ahead of time to order goods or even check the weather conditions before they embarked on trips to the markets.

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