TITOLO DEL WORKSHOP: EaSI TA Workshop “A Comparative Analysis of Microcredit Legislation”

COORDINATORE: Maria Doiciu - Eurom-consultancy, Senior consultant, EaSI TA Non Key Expert
RELATORI: Eugenio Minucci - RITMI-PerMicro, Chief Operating Officer Martina Grigorova - SIS Credit, Head of Business Lending and Investor Relations EaSI TA Speaker

A total of 27 participants, of which 12 men and 15 women, attended the Workshop called “A comparative Analysis of Microcredit Legislation”. The participants were asked a series of questions about their experience. The 85% of the participants (23 out of 27) filled the feedback form provided by the EMN.

They were asked to rate difference aspects:

1. General feeling about the workshop

2. Workshop content

3. Workshop material

4. Workshop Moderator & Panellists

5. Workshop organisation and venue

6. The match of the workshop with their needs

7. If they gained relevant knowledge and information

8. The ability to apply the knowledge and information in their work

9. The topics that would interest them the most for future workshops

On a sliding scale:

- 1 = POOR

- 2 = FAIR

- 3 = GOOD

- 4 = VERY GOOD

- 5 = EXCELLENT

Overall, the event has been evaluated by the participants as almost very good, with an average score of 3.9 out of 5. This shows a high level of satisfaction among the participants, shown also by the high percentage of people evaluating it as or excellent. The overall average score from the collected forms was at 76,54%. 57% of the respondents (13 persons) described their general feeling about the workshop as ‘very good’, 17% (4 persons) as excellent and 26% ( 6 persons) as good. This results in an average rating of 3,9 out of 5, which means almost very good.

Comments:

- Interesting. It should be more useful to have an institutional point of view on Italian legislation as well to solve some interpretative issues.

- It’s a good initiative and it could be interesting to talk about other Microcredit legislation, next time to have an overall perspective.

- Not enough people attended

- I find it very interesting that less developed countries like Romania and Bulgaria have to experience to teach ‘us’ the Microcredit Pro’s and Con’s

Workshop content

The respondents were very satisfied with the content of the workshop, giving it an average rating of 4,13 out of 5 which means more than very good. 12 respondents (53%) rated the content as ‘very good’, 7 (30%) as excellent, and 4 (17%) as good. One participant outlined in the comments that the workshop content was “very informative”.

Workshop material

Overall, the respondents very satisfied with the workshop material; the average rating was 3,65 out of 5 – between good and very good. What can be seen is that while 22% rated it as ‘excellent’, 30% as ‘very good’ and 39% as ‘good’, 9% found that the workshop material was ‘fair’. They criticised that the “slides were not nice to see” and that the “visual presentation was very good but it always had quotes telling where the information had been taken from”. For the future, one participant suggested “more schemes and less words”.

Workshop Moderator & Panellists

Most respondents were very satisfied with the workshop moderator and panellists; resulting in the average rating of 3,74 out of 5. 22 % (5 participants) rated them as excellent, 30% (7 participants) as very good and 48% (11 participants) as good. In the comments, the “very good moderation” has been highlighted, but the “English of the Italian speakers could have been a little bit more fluent” and “someone from Germany/the UK would have helped a better comparison”.

Workshop organization and venue

Respondents rated the workshop organisation and venue between very good and excellent, with an average rating of 4,33 out of 5. 39% (9 respondents) answered with ‘excellent’, 43% (10 respondents) with ‘very good’ and 9% (2 respondents) with ‘good’. 2 persons did not answer the question.

The match of the workshop with their needs

Overall, the respondents indicated that the workshop matched with their needs (the average rating was 3,67 out of 5- between good and very good). 9 participants (39%) rated it as ‘good’, 7 participants (30%) as ‘very good’, 4 participants (17%) as ‘excellent’ and one person (4%) as ‘fair’. 2 persons did not answer the question. One person stated that he/she would have needed more panellists/opinions.

If they gained relevant knowledge and information

With an average rating of 3,91 out of 5, the participants rated gaining relevant knowledge and information during the workshop as very good. 57% (13 persons) answered with ‘very good’, 17% each answered with ‘good’ and ‘excellent’ (4 respondents each). One person rated the relevant knowledge as ‘fair’ and one person did not answer the question.

The ability to apply the knowledge and information in their work

Overall, the average rating of this question was the lowest in the questionnaire (3,27 out of 5), which means the respondents still rated the applicability of the knowledge gained during the workshop in their work as ‘good’. While 7 respondents (30%) answered with ‘very good’, 6 (26%) answered with ‘good’ and 3 (13%) with excellent, 5 persons (22%) rated it as ‘fair’ one person as poor. One person did not answer the question. One reason for this low average may be the fact that many of the participants were students. One of the comment support this interpretation, stating “not yet”.

The topics that would interest them the most for future workshops persons answered this last question (48% of all respondents); proposing the following topics:

- Evolution of European Legislation of Microfinance

- Microcredit concessions

- Social mission and economic sustainability

- The Microcredit culture of less developed countries

- Microfinance and Development

- Corporate social responsibility versus economic sustainability

- The Microfinance for PM - Real operation of Microfinance/Practical examples, less theory

- Any topic related to Eastern countries; in particular Bulgaria and Lithuania

- Microfinance risk assessment/scoring

- Social innovation Microcredit

OBSERVATIONS

Receptivity of the event by the target group:

- Development of registrations (and potential causes, if irregular): Registration process was managed by the National Agency of Microcredit (the host).

- Actions taken with regard to increase of receptivity (if applicable): Not needed

- Testimonials from participants collected by organisational team during the event: n/a

- Other insights collected by the organisational team in conversations with participants during the event (usefulness of event, preferred specific topics, ideas and topics for future fi-compass activities): The microfinance market in Italy is still very young and rather underdeveloped apart from one major player. It is still a challenge to get the market growing and maturing. The event attracted mostly students from the University in Rome, which is likely to be a result of the low level of involvement of Italian practitioners’ microfinance Network RITMI.

Format and content of the event:

- Participants’ response to the event format (e.g. how were presentations, case studies and group work perceived; has there been active participation in each of these sessions? What can be improved? How did the audience react to videos?): All the panellists of the workshops had brief Power Point presentations to support their interventions. Presentations are available in the annexe. The event lasted exactly the time foreseen for it (2 times 50 minutes). It started with some 5 minutes’ delay from the original agenda due to the delay in the previous presentation in Italian in order to increase receptivity. Some of the participants, mainly the students, were asking for more practical information in form of case studies. This would also had been the appropriate event format, however given the limited time of 50 minutes, such practical exercise was not realistic, further the venue (a theatre) was not favourable.

- Assessment of content and presentation skills of the speakers; and suitability for future events: The scoring in the evaluations from the speakers and the content of the workshop were above the average scoring of the session. The speakers were very efficient and addressing the point at every moment and with every question. The feedback says that the speakers and moderators were well prepared and concrete.

- Interest in fi-compass publications during the event (and recommendation for similar future events): leaflets from fi-compass and the EaSI TA project were distributed upon interest as well as some 4 copies of the EU Code of Good Conduct brochures.

Organizational issues (in bullet points):

- Scope of services (incl. atypical requests) done by the Consortium and the EIB, incl. division of work: This assignment was proposed and planned well ahead of time. The first discussions were lead between EMN, Ritmi and the National Agency in Q2 2016. The local organizers were very happy about EMN’s participation in the conference programme.

- Preparation of the event – what worked well and where is room for improvement: All panellists were absolutely collaborative and helpful in the event preparation and conduction. The same can be said also from the local organiser, although the expected level and quality of outreach was less than expected. The fact that the organiser was not agreeing on sharing the list of registration upfront did not help the preparation of the event to the target group.

- Event conduction - well and where is room for improvement Given the reduced time for presentation and the venue (theatre), there was no room for practical exercises. All speakers have well respected their given timeslot and were well prepared to deliver the workshop. The dynamic of the event was strongly impregnated by the student target group, although the contents were tailored to microcredit providers. This probably led to the fact that so few questions were asked, in addition to the presentations done in English without interpretation services into Italian.

- Follow-up – what worked well and where is room for improvement: The collaboration of the speakers and experts made that the workshop sessions were delivered well and everyone came well prepared. The participation from the audience was very limited. However, in between the workshops we have taken the chance to meet with a few potential interested parties in the EaSI TA programme. The local organiser, The Agency of Microcredit for Italy, has done a good job in the logistical preparation of the event and had very helpful staff to smoothen the implementation (microphone service, photographer, help with the roll-up banner, help with the PowerPoint presentation etc.). However, the target group and the number of participants were below expectation. Also, we would consider a collabo- workshops and the lunch time. Given that some of the speakers were Italian native, we chose to let them do the ration with the national network of Italian microcredit providers, RITMI, a true value for the next edition of this event. The level of discussion could be raised much to the benefits of the microcredit providers.

Recommendations/lessons learned:

- Workshops in pre-established events guarantee an excellent and efficient outreach at national level. Although in the present case, outreach could be improved if all the players in Italy would pull the strings together.

- Workshops remain a good tool for dissemination of good practices at EU level and the audience is generally interested in knowing how other countries deal with similar issues (e.g. legal frameworks)

- The workshop was an excellent presentation of the EaSI program in Italy. Some of the smaller MCPs in the country have shown interest to apply to the EaSI TA call.

Annexes
Annex 1 - Final Moderation scripts for specific sessions (where applicable): Available Annex 2 - Final programme document and agenda: Available Annex 3 - List of participants to the event (excel sheet “III EMF - Attendees List” provided by the host organisation) Annex 4 - List of participants to the 2 EaSI TA events (list of signatures and same excel sheet as above “III EMF - Attendees List” which includes information on attendance to the workshops + their respective email addresses): Available Annex 5 - Scanned evaluation forms (one pdf per workshop): Available Annex 6 - All presentations and workshop materials (ppt): Available Annex 7 – List of potential MCP candidates for the EaSI TA programme: Available Annex 8 – Published past events page on fi-compass website: Available