The First MicroFinance Company (FMFC) in Kyrgyzstan has become the first financial institution in the country to join the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)’s Women in Business program in Central Asia, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).  The program supports women’s entrepreneurship in Kyrgyzstan as well as in Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The EBRD is providing FMFC with a loan of US$1 million for on-lending to women-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and will promote women’s entrepreneurship and participation in business by assisting with access to finance, know-how, technical advice and policy dialogue.

The start of the Women in Business program was announced last month at an official ceremony attended by Altynai Omurbekova, Vice Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan and the EBRD Director for Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, Neil McKain.

The program is supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative and will offer a comprehensive package of financial and technical support for female business leaders in the Kyrgyz Republic designed to improve MSMEs’ competitiveness.

The Swiss Government through the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs is also supporting the program by providing advisory services through the EBRD Small Business Impact Fund (other donors include: Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Sweden, Taipei China and the USA).

In Kyrgyzstan, small businesses are responsible for around 40 percent of GDP but only one third of these companies are owned or led by women entrepreneurs.

FMFC is one of the largest microfinance institution in Kyrgyzstan serving over 20,000 borrowers, through its network of 15 branches.

The EBRD has invested almost €790 million through 191 projects in the economy of the Kyrgyz Republic, with a majority of investments supporting private entrepreneurship.

The First MicroFinance Company is wholly owned by the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM), a Foundation incorporated in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 2003, the Aga Khan MicroFinance Program launched microfinance projects in the remote areas of Osh region, which quickly expanded to operate five branches by 2004.  In 2005, the program was offered in Naryn region, and the First MircroCredit Company (FMCC) was registered in 2006.  In September 2017, the Company transformed into the First MicroFinance Company (FMFC).

The FMFC’s vision is to reduce poverty, diminish vulnerability of poor populations and alleviate economic and social exclusion.

The mission of First MicroFinance Company is to improve the quality of life of the people by helping them to improve their incomes, become self-reliant and gain skills needed to graduate into the national financial market.