Our Approach

Microenterprise and Microfinance

Small loans to assist low-income people to establish viable small businesses which will improve their quality of life.

Conditions for SEAM Development Support

Before we are able to help a potential Client to establish or grow a small business, we need to know a few things. SEAM’s goal is to support Clients with projects which will improve the living standards of the Entrepreneur and their family. Entrepreneur Clients must be prepared to follow microfinance rules designed to break the poverty cycle. These include learning to save some of their profit and requiring school age students to be studying.

SEAM Management Requirements

1. Goal of SEAM Support

Our policy is that the loans are provided to enable Clients to meet their development goals. They will be repaid at an agreed rate to SEAM, including some interest.  Repayment may start immediately at a rate that is agreed between the Entrepreneur Client and our SEAM Client Manager.
  • Provide finance, training and advice
  • Eventual genuine financial independence
  • Accept Clients right to leave the project when they wish

2. Entrepreneur must have a Business Plan

Clients will be helped to prepare a written plan of their business. This should be presented if possible in writing (for approval by SEAM Board) The Business Plan should include….
  • What is prospective client going to sell (products or labour)?
  • Who will staff and manage the business?
  • Where will the customers come from?
  • How will the loans be managed?
  • How much finance support is wanted (when and for what period)?
  • What are the expected returns/profits to the owner?
Clients and Managers will be provided with receipt for money loaned or returned.

3. Loan Drawdown and Business Support

  • A written agreement will be made with the Client
  • SEAM staff will offer business support
  • Client may then drawdown loan as agreed
  • Once a loan is returned, or when Client requests review, terms may be renegotiated
  • Attend client training provided by SEAM

4. SEAM Accountability

  • The Client agrees to financial oversight
  • Agrees to regular communication to SEAM local staff
  • Reports to SEAM on progress including evidence of financials
  • Who is going to benefit from the business success?

5. Clients children must go to school

  • Stay at school until they reach their desired qualification (ideally until at least 15 years old) (SEAM may assist with school fees.)

6. Client Savings plan for future security and benefit

  • Clients agree at the start that a percentage of profit should be saved
  • This is expected to be 5 ~ 10% of their profits.
  • This will be regularly deposited in a Client Savings Account by Financial Manager
  • Savings are released where family crisis or business expansion requires it.*
*Client funds are available to support business development, or a sudden family crisis (e.g. sickness and injuries). SEAM holding of client savings assists clients to resist demands of trivial extended family pressures.

7. Client withdrawal from SEAM Microfinance

Clients may leave whenever they want, subject to return of loans made. Likely motives for withdrawal…
  • if a client no longer needs support from SEAM, as they can manage their business finances without SEAM help.
  • Business project failure Clients business problems are not able to be resolved. SEAM staff will attempt to help Client with Business problems. If unable to recover, then client may terminate and withdraw from project.
NB -  It is SEAM policy that loans will not be allowed to cause Clients to exit in a worse way than when they loaned. SEAM Board likely would decide that a loan debt should be forgiven if a loan cannot be repaid. *Client funds are available to support business development, or a sudden family crisis (e.g. sickness and injuries).

SEAM Financial Management of Client Savings

It is expected in all microfinance projects that the Clients savings money is held by in a separate bank account, and that the staff involved will provide a monthly report on client progress and expenditure.