High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Endeavor Entrepreneur Lilian Simbaqueba recognized on Forbes.com

In the Forbes.com article “Predicting the Path Out of Poverty: Microfinance & Credit Risk Analysis,” Endeavor Entrepreneur Lilian Simbaqueba is recognized for the success of her risk analysis company, LiSim.

First starting out in 1996 in Bogotá, Colombia, Lilian found her niche in the field of microfinance and developed one of the world’s first scoring systems that determines which individuals would most benefit from uncollateralized loans.

Author Elmira Bayrasli describes how through Accion International Lilian was able “to expand LiSim to 26 countries worldwide, including neighboring Peru and Bolivia as well as India, Bangladesh and several in Eastern Europe. By 2007 she had 50 percent of the market share in Colombia and Latin America.”

However Lilian was not satisfied.

“There were two problems with this,” Lilian says. Though she had managed to salvage her business by taking on microfinance lenders, she was not bringing in the revenue needed to scale LiSim up. “Accion wanted to work on one project a year. That was not enough,” she says.

It is Lilian’s adaptability and “thinking big” that has enabled her to continue to serve the poor while transforming her client base.

Today, 40 percent of LiSim’s clients are telecom and utility companies (Telefonica is her largest client), cable television providers and other for-profit enterprises such as Colombia’s largest fitness chain, BodyTech. Microfinance comprises 10 percent of LiSim’s business. “I’m still serving the poor,” Lilian says.

She serves them through the telecom and utility companies that use credit scoring for lower income clients. This has enabled several thousands to gain access to phone lines, mobile and landline, electricity, gas and water. “These are things that the poor need,” Lilian says, “wherever they are. That’s something that microfinance misses.”

Read the article in full here.

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