Russia: Citi Foundation & Russian Microfinance Center Launch Citi Russia Microenterprise Awards
The Citi Foundation and the Russian Microfinance Center (RMC) invited applications to compete in the fourth annual Citi Russia Microenterprise Awards, supported by the Citi Foundation.
The aim of the competition is to encourage successful microentrepreneurs, give an extra boost to the most effective organizations engaged in microfinance activities in any of the Russian regions, and to raise awareness about microfinancing on the part of both government agencies and the general public.
According to RMC, the market for microfinance services swelled fourfold between 2003 and 2007; microfinance loans are currently issued worth more than $ 900 million, while $600 million of private savings have been attracted, and the client base totals around 650,000 customers. Last year, the Citi Foundation increased the Platinum Award to 100,000 rubles, while the total volume of the awards fund was brought to twice the size of the previous year’s fund. More than 150 nominees from 45 of the Russian regions took part in the competition in 2007. These were entrepreneurs who used microloans to create their own socially significant businesses. The overall success of the competition in 2005-2007 showed that microfinancing has colossal potential for development and public recognition.
In additional to the now-traditional awards for “Best Microenterprise Employer” and “Best Individual Entrepreneur,” winners of new awards will also be announced this year in the following categories: “For Major Contributions to the Development of Microenterprise,” “Best Representative of Businesswomen in Russian Microfinance 2008,” and “For Contributions to the Development of Microfinance in the Russian Federation.”
The competition organizers this year will be the National Partnership of Microfinance Market Stakeholders (NAUMIR) and the National Microfinance Center, with financial support from the Citi Foundation. The competition will be held with support from the RF Trade and Industry Chamber, and information support from the Expert Council on Microfinance and Funding for Small Business, attached to the RF Ministry for Economic Development. The competition is supported by Russia’s Federal Council and the State Duma.
In order to ensure broader participation by microfinance organizations in the competition, regional rounds will be organized by local partners.
Applications for participation in the competition can be sent between September 10 and November 10, 2008, and the awards presentation ceremony will take place in Moscow on December 10, 2008.
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