The Boulder Institute
Every year, the Boulder Institute brings together hundreds of microfinance leaders and practitioners to discover and discuss new strategies and fundamental themes for the development and advancement of the global industry. By incorporating new tools and techniques, MFIs can offer better financial services to the world’s poorest.
The Flagship MFT Program
Last year marked the 20th anniversary of Boulder Institute’s flagship Microfinance Training (MFT) Programs. For our first decade, we held the original English-language program in the city which gave us our name, Boulder, Colorado. MFT began as a Development Finance program within the Center for World Banking and Finance, at the Economics Institute. After two years within the program, MFT became a stand-alone training at the Institute, and then later moved to the campus of Naropa University.
In 2004, we formed the Boulder Institute of Microfinance and relocated the MFT to the ILO International Training Centre in northern Italy. From our new home in Turin, we entered into our second successful decade (2004-2014) with the launch of the French-language version of the MFT.
The success and impact of the French-language program drove the inception of the MFT in Spanish to address the specific issues facing the Latin American microfinance community. The Spanish program has been held every year since 2007 at different locations throughout Latin America including Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, and this year in Ecuador.
The Shifting Financial Inclusion Paradigm
To further advance the industry, in 2008 Boulder Institute organized two important paradigm-shifting events: The Boulder-Bergamo Forum on Access to Financial Services in Bergamo, Italy focused on issues affecting the provision of rural financial services. That same year, the Pocantico Meeting in New York brought together groups of leaders in microfinance from around the world to reflect on the sector and especially to explore the fundamental principles of financial inclusion.
Governance and Leadership
Partnering with Calmeadow and the Center for Financial Inclusion, Boulder Institute opened up a needed conversation about growth and risk in competitive markets with top Latin American microfinance leaders who generated deep peer-to-peer learning around governance in heating markets. Beautiful and dynamic Mexico City was the backdrop for this successful 2013 event.
The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion
Since 2013, to further shift the financial inclusion paradigm on a larger scale, Boulder Institute of Microfinance has partnered with The MasterCard Foundation to organize “The MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion: Clients at the Center”. The 2014 edition took place in Turin, Italy from July 16th to 18th, and brought together 300 microfinance industry leaders from around the globe. This year’s event is scheduled to take place in Cape Town, South Africa on November 19th and 20th, 2015.
The annual symposium’s vision and purpose is to create an influential community of practice committed to scaling financial services to the poor that are client-centric, innovative and prove the business case for financial service providers. Industry leaders share the latest advances, research, and emerging ideas that will quicken the pace for innovations that can lead to success and scale. The Symposium brings together academics and practitioners who delve into all aspects of the entire process from client understanding to sustainable product design and delivery, sparking important changes in industry thinking about financial inclusion.
Participants from Boulder MFT 1998 - English Program
Participants from Boulder MFT Turin 2014 - English and French Programs