On Deck @ The Microfinance USA Conference

Earlier this week, the On Deck Team attended the Microfinance USA Conference here in New York City. Bringing together a wide array of organizations, ranging from technology companies to non-profit organizations, all of the participants were united in their common goal of increasing the flow of capital to microenterprises. There were plenty of innovative ideas in the area of microfinance discussed – here are a few:

  • Psychographic Credit Scoring: Forget financial statements – Professor Khwala of Harvard’s Entrepreneurial Finance Lab just wants to know if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. He’s using intelligence and aptitude tests to deliver capital to the underbanked around the globe.
  • Small Business meets Silicon Valley: Progreso Financial is leveraging technology to make small business lending affordable – in Texas and California, they’re using innovative data sources and automated analysis to make small, fast loans to microenterprises.
  • Find a Mentor: Jim Koch, who received startup capital for his small business by offering investors free beer for life (congratulations, Sam Adams investors), wants small business owners to know the best thing they can do is never stop asking questions and never stop asking for the advice of the smart people around you. MicroMentor wants to do just that by matching your small business with a seasoned mentor in your field. The organization has already created 2,881 mentoring relationships!