Investment: Horizonti

Horizonti was formed in January 2000 as a microfinance project of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Macedonia. In June 2005, the project spun-off from CRS by registering as a local NGO. The goal of the project is to provide access to credit to micro-entrepreneurs, specifically to low-income women, in the peri-urban and rural areas of the country. The first branch office was opened in Skopje and the first loans were disbursed in March 2000. At present, Horizonti provides its services through nine branch offices located in larger cities throughout the country.

Why we invested

Horizonti was the only financially sustainable microfinance institution in Macedonia providing access to credit and financial literacy to marginalized populations, including the Roma population, particularly Roma women. We believe Horizonti’s approach to providing credit to these clients will serve as a model for other financial institutions seeking to service marginalized populations.

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Jagoda Despotovska

Jagoda Despotovska, 47 years old and a mother of two children, runs her own business making confections and pastries. When the business began, though, Jagoda had only one small room with one old oven, in which she could produce only, at most, about 200 pieces per day. She wanted to apply for a loan but was not eligible at most local financial institutions...

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