About this project In the mid-1970s Muhammad Yunnus’ Grameen Bank pioneered the concept of using small loans to give low-income people an opportunity to become self-sufficient.

Once his ideas had proved their effectiveness in Bangladesh, it was only a matter of time before microfinance made its way to Europe.

Following the likes of Maria Nowak and ADIE in France, retired Vaudois businessman Georges Aegler founded ‘Action Solidarité et Création d’Entreprises’ in 2000. The organisation, which he described as a ‘banque des pauvres’, was later renamed ‘Microcrédit Solidaire Suisse’ (MSS) and is now active throughout Switzerland.

For over a decade, MSS and the SI Union of Switzerland have worked together on Microcredit Soroptimist. This scheme supports women who seek financial independence by starting a small business, but who lack the guarantees needed to be able to obtain traditional bank loans.

With a rigorous selection process, where a candidate’s business plan is evaluated and followed-up with coaching from professionals in the fields of finance, management and marketing, the project has been a great success. CHF 2.5 million in loans have generated businesses which have achieved total revenue of CHF 20 million.

Thanks to this microcredit scheme, a 30 year-old makeup artist in Lucerne launched her own independent studio and a young woman in Montreux opened an interior decorating business. These are just two of over 150 small business ventures initiated by women that Microcredit Soroptimist has supported.

Microcredit Soroptimist brochure PDF (French)
MSS website (French and German)

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