Finance Tout Terrain: a round-the-world bike tour of microfinance.
BNP Paribas is the main partner of the “Finance Tout Terrain” project whose aim is to review the current status of microfinance by means of a round-the-world bike tour. This sporting and human challenge will be undertaken by three students attending the Angers Graduate School of Business (ESSCA): Benjamin Sierra, Loïc Linard and Johan Benichou. It will involve cycling 16,000 kilometres in 25 countries in order to meet some 90 microfinance players; both microfinance institutions and beneficiaries of this practice, in particular those in rural locations. This extraordinary adventure began on Tuesday 6 October 2009 with the first stage taking place in Kathmandu (Nepal).
Thanks to the local contacts provided by BNP Paribas and by the international solidarity organisations Planet Finance and SIDI (Solidarité Internationale pour le Développement et l’Investissement or International Solidarity for Development and Investment), the Finance Tout Terrain team will conduct a series of interviews with microfinance representatives which will serve as the basis for a documentary that will be made on their return in October 2010. The transcription of these interviews, as well as some anecdotes of their trip, will be posted on this blog throughout the year in the form of a travel diary.
“BNP Paribas is heavily involved in microfinance in France as well as in many emerging countries of the southern hemisphere. By supporting this initiative we will have the opportunity to understand the motivations of the various players in the field, from the point of view of the loan officer as well as the micro-entrepreneur, and to acquire solid relationships with the microfinance institutions that may become our partners. This also encourages the students to incorporate economic rationality and social responsibility in their future professional life”, says Emmanuel de Lutzel, Head of the Microfinance Group at BNP Paribas.
For the past 7 years, in the domain of microfinance, BNP Paribas has been funding institutions that accompany the development of micro-enterprises in emerging countries. Currently, the total number of loans granted in the framework of microfinance internationally amounts to more than EUR 50 million, across some twelve countries and involving around twenty partners, benefiting over 400,000 borrowers, and producing an economic and social impact on more than 2 million people.
Additionally, BNP Paribas and the French Development Agency (AFD) have signed a framework cooperation agreement to develop joint projects in countries where the AFD operates and the Group is established, including support for the microfinance sector.
Other than financial support, the partnership with BNP Paribas has provided the 3 students with genuine expertise to assist them in the preparation of their journey, and has improved both the visibility of their project and the credibility of their approach.