Roger Sillières for the SIPEM – Madagascar – November 2014
What was it that motivated you to get involved in skills-based volunteering ?
Skills-based volunteering gave me the opportunity to transpose my banking skills for use in other areas. And also, helping others makes me happy!
MFSF enabled me to make a contribution, by advising a micro-finance organization, the SIPEM (Société d’Investissement pour la Promotion des Entreprises à Madagascar) which is a grouping of 16 branches in Antananarivo and the provinces of Madagascar.
I first went to Madagascar in 2002 and subsequently I’ve had several opportunities to return.Europeans and a few Americans and Canadians often spend a few months in Madagascar, working on long missions in order to contribute to development efforts in the country.
What was the basic content of your mission ?
SIPEM’s activity is geared towards the financing of micro and small companies, mainly in the trade, crafts and transportation sectors.
A micro-finance institute whose capital is mainly held by Madagascans, the SIPEM had just received the necessary authorizations to operate as a fully operational bank.
The mission involved a diagnosis and an assessment of the commercial set-up in place, covering the headquarters and the branches.After presenting our recommendations, we reached an agreement with the SIPEM’s board of directors and its MD to pursue the movement underway, with a mission to coach the new commercial director in 2015.
What did the mission offered to you by MFSF bring you, both personally and professionally ?
Ten days of highly professional exchanges enabled me to measure the huge capacity to do a lot with very little.
And then I saw that 200 charitable and tenacious people are able to drive the growth of their companies and ensure that they do not move away from their socio-economic vocation, while at the same time ensuring sustainable profitability.
Of course, providing external advice is good for the SIPEM, but it very quickly became obvious that local know-how was the main source of wealth.