Adelante Foundation Microfinance

Adelante Foundation Microfinance

La Ceiba, HondurasHonduras
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We improve the standard of living of poor women in rural Honduras with micro-credit and education. Loans are used to promote financial independence.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Honduras, 67% of the country's 8.2 million population lives below the poverty line while the country has one of the most unequal income distributions in the world. Hondurans suffer from underemployment rates of over 50%. Rural Hondurans face poverty with much greater prevalence than urbanized Hondurans. Just under half of Hondurans live in rural areas but 72% of the rural population lives in poverty. The neglect that rural Hondurans endure from government results in continued poverty in rural communities. Further, studies have found women to experience poverty more intensely than men, leaving women to hold the greatest burden.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Adelante focuses its integrative microfinance-education program in rural areas of Honduras and over 99% of clients are women. We provide them with small loans to invest in their micro-businesses so that they and their families can enjoy an improved standard of living. Our combination of small business loans and business development education ensures our clients become successful micro-entrepreneurs. The majority of our loan pool is dedicated to our solidarity group loan product. Clients do not need to own a home or have another form of collateral; instead the pressure involved in the solidarity group loan structure affords eligibility to those who need it most. Once a client develops a solid credit history they become eligible for individual business and home improvement loans.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Aida Zulema is an example of one Adelante client who has seen a dramatic increase in economic opportunities since taking out her first loan five years ago. Although her children are older, she is now responsible for raising two grandchildren as her own and is also partially responsible for three more. With the help of Adelante, Aida began her own convenience store after selling lottery tickets in local communities for more than 25 years. Although she continues to travel to sell lottery tickets on the weekends, she is grateful that she and her husband have a steadier source of income with the grocery store. Her husband helps her with the store and also grows vegetable crops to feed his family. Her first loan was for about $26.00 and her eleventh, most current loan, is for about $633.00. The growth that Aida has experienced demonstrates that many women only require very small loan amounts in order to get started on a successful business venture and expand the economic opportunities for their family. Aida’s story is only one from the over 6,000 clients Adelante currently serves and 54,983 clients since beginning in 2000.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Adelante's competition includes 23 other microfinance institutions that operate within Honduras. We take pride in maintaining our focus on poor rural women, who have less access to economic advancement than others in Honduras. Due to our own commitment to maintaining our mission, Adelante considers it to be a disadvantage to us and to all microfinance institutions when one institution operates irresponsibly. This behavior reduces the confidence that we have built in our own clients and the overall perception of microfinance around the world.

Founding Story

On October 28, 1998, Honduras suffered from its greatest national catastrophe when Hurricane Mitch made landfall on the Honduran northern coast. The hurricane resulted in leaving 51% of the population homeless, a total of $3.8 billion in damages and the ruin of 90% of banana crops and 70% of total crops. The devastation that the country had become faced with was what inspired Tony Stone, a Stanford graduate, to return to Honduras. Tony spent most of his childhood in La Ceiba and upon arriving back to the country, Tony found that the rural areas of Honduras had been largely ignored despite facing greater poverty rates than urban areas. Adelante was then established in 1999 and began its first loan disbursements on September 14, 2000.
About You
Adelante Foundation
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Adelante Foundation

Organization Country

, AT, La Ceiba

Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

We have been recognized by the Grameen Bank as an official Replicator of their lending methodology.
In 2010, we also received a Certificate of Transparency from Mix Market and Redcamif and have continued to provide both these organizations with our indicators each year. We have received a Four Diamond rating the past two years from Mix Market.
In 2011 we submitted our Institutional Action Plan to the Micro Summit Campaign and are maintaining active membership with them.

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How long have you been in operation?

Operating for more than 5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Equity.

Social Impact
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve

Adelante's mission is to improve the standard of living of the rural poor of Honduras through micro credit and education. We achieve this by providing rural women with small loans which they can invest in their own micro businesses. Adelante believes that small loans into the businesses of female micro entrepreneurs supplemented by regular business education will empower rural Honduran women with the necessary economic tools to move their families forward.

Which barrier(s) to financial inclusion does your solution seek to address? (select all applicable)

Physical and other accessibility obstacles that prevent communities from reaching financial services, The lack of affordable financial products tailored to the needs of underserved and excluded communities,, Other (Please describe below).

If you selected 'other' above, please specify which other barriers to financial inclusion you solution seeks to address:

Lack of access to educational opportunities that teach rural Honduran women how to run their small businesses.

For which underserved or excluded communities will your solution create access to valuable, affordable, secure and comprehensive financial services?

Adelante serves poor women in rural Honduran communities in Honduras. We work in several areas in which underserved minority groups including the Lenca, Ch'orti' and Garfiuna live. With greater funding, Adelante would be able to expand into other rural areas of Honduras which we have not yet been able to reach. The majority of Honduran microfinance institutions focus primarily within urban areas. This means that any further expansion will allow us to provide small loans for women who have not yet been able to secure financing through other sources, given their geographical location.

Could your solution work in other geographies or regions? If so, where?

Adelante’s lending methodology is based on the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, which was developed over 30 years ago. Our institutional indicators over the last decade reflect our dedication and success at serving the rural poor. Our lending methodology could be applied to other regions in the world where there are underserved rural communities.

If your solution is dramatically successful, how will things be different in 10 years?

In ten years Adelante will consider itself successful if we have been able to expand into excluded and underserved rural communities of Honduras that we have not yet reached. We currently have five branch offices that serve eight Honduran departments (states): Colon, Atlántida, Islas de la Bahia, Cortes, Yoro, Intibucá, La Paz, and Choluteca.
In 10 years, we will see improvements in the standard of living of the clients with whom we work and will be able to provide financing to larger numbers of rural Honduran women. This will result in greater access to business education and economic opportunities for rural Honduran communities.
In 10 years, we will see improvements in the standard of living of the clients with whom we work and will be able to provide financing to larger numbers of rural Honduran women. This will result in greater access to business education and economic opportunities for rural Honduran communities.

What will have had to have changed to make this happen?

In order to be successful in expanding our reach and impact, we will need greater sources of funding. Although Adelante is operationally self-sustainable (from the revenue generated from interest paid on our loans), we need infusions of capital to expand our loan pool significantly and thus bolster our overall impact level.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Since September 2000 Adelante has disbursed over 74,300 loans to more than 54,983 clients. These loans total over 9.3 million dollars. Without these loans, many women would have never been able to improve their families’ standard of living through the application of small business loans.

Our clients know well that our impact goes beyond statistics on loan disbursements. Teresa Rivera, a client from Atlantida recently told us, "What’s good about Adelante is that it’s not just an economic help, but the educational presentations too, they help us to manage our businesses better." The business education that the Credit Officers provide gives our clients invaluable lessons on managing their businesses which is particularly important to those who were not able to complete or attend secondary school.

What is your projected impact over the next five years?

We will continue growing our current three loan products while expanding into other products and services including educational (for clients’ children), agricultural and fixed asset loans, micro-insurance, micro-pensions, mobile banking and more advanced business development education.
We expect to create partnerships to offer loans for value-added services including water purification systems, solar or hydro-electricity and high-efficiency stoves.
We plan to target high-achieving recipients of our education loans with opportunities to begin their own businesses in specialized trades. This is to combat the lack of opportunities for young people that often lead them to turn to crime to make a living.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

We have been operationally self-sustainable since 2010 due to our high repayment rates and by expanding loan pool with interest paid. However, we plan to expand loan pool to more than what we could do individually. We continue to seek out new avenues of funding, particularly with grants. We expect to continue to receive high repayment rates because of the entrepreneurial education we provide our clients at their bi-monthly assembly meetings and their regular contact with Adelante Credit Officers. The insecurity and corruption are destabilizing factors within Honduras, making our work more difficult and dangerous, although not impossible, to fulfill.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Expand our loan pool for the home improvement loan allowing more of our clients to have a measurable positive impact on their st

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Secure at least $45,000 in outside funding to be invested in the home improvement loan in the next six months.

Task 2

Identify 15 clients per month with excellent repayment histories to be recipients of the loans.

Task 3

Evaluate the clients and disburse the loans.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

By the end of 12 months we hope to see measurable results demonstrating success in fulfilling our social mission.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Carry out the second round of Progress out of Poverty Index surveys to measure improvement in the standard of living of our cli

Task 2

Compare results to the baseline data gathered in 2011.

Task 3

Analyze data to determine whether we are having a measurable impact or, if not, determine our weaknesses and adjust accordingly.

Tell us about your partnerships

Current and past funders include Grameen Foundation, Whole Planet Foundation, Women's Empowerment International, and Rotary Foundation. We are pursuing grants with Proctor and Gamble Alumni Foundation, Henry Niles Foundation and others.
We are affiliated with Mix Market, Redmicroh and Redcamif. These partnerships allow for staff training and interaction with our peers in related organizations in the region. Our results are reported to them quarterly and included in analyses of trends in the regional microfinance industry.

Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your innovation? If so, where and why?

Adelante's focus is on poor women in the rural areas of Honduras. We are always willing to expand into other rural areas of the country that we have not yet begun work in when funding is available to do so.
Specifically, we would like to expand into the western departments of Lempira, Ocotepeque, and Copan where poverty is extreme and there is a dearth of financial services for our target population.

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

Our operational self-sufficiency since 2010 has enabled us to be in charge of our own success. We have been able to reach out to distinct communities around Honduras by investing our resources into traveling to rural areas without previous access to financial services. Adelante Credit Officers typically come from the areas in which they work, allowing them to have a strong familiarity with the communities’ needs. We provide incentives to our Credit Officers to grow their loan pool while maintaining high repayment and client retention rates.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

We utilize the Progress out of Poverty Index and will soon begin our collaboration with the Social Performance Task Force. We are open to providing information to other organizations to develop mutually beneficial relationships. In addition we maintain affiliation with Mix Market, Redmicroh and Redcamif.