The Village Microclinic has adopted a one-year graduation program to contribute to end extreme poverty. The program provides groups of three entrepreneurs with seeds capital, training and ongoing mentorship by a local business mentor. Business groups are organized into business saving groups of 30 entrepreneurs (10 business groups) to allow access to growth capital, provide a safe place for savings, and build social capital.

Training: The training is based on 16 sessions including the following topics: business planning and management, records keeping, marketing, savings and loans management, monitoring and evaluation of business.  A businessmentor leads the training for a group of 30 participants. At the end of the training, small groups of 3 persons each are made. Each small group writes a business plan and starts a small business together.

Capital grant:  Three months after the beginning of the training, each small business group receive an initial grant of around USD 100 (around 200,000 BIF) to start their enterprise. A second grant equivalent of the half of the first amount is provided six months later. The second grant is conditional on the group’s proper use of the start-up capital and regular participation in the saving groups.

Mentoring: business mentors as well as field coordinators are recruited locally and provide ongoing mentorship and coaching to the business groups. They monitor how the small business groups use their capital, give them advice and suggestions on the challenges they face.