Financial Inclusion for Rural Microenterprise (FIRM)

FIRM supports smallholder dairy farmers like Stephen Njuguna (right) to access finance that help them run more competitive businesses.

Financial Inclusion for Rural Microenterprises (FIRM) is a financial services activity that works in agriculture, clean/renewable energy and policy reform.

FIRM facilitates the expansion of financial services and investment for entrepreneurs and businesses by designing profitable and sustainable financial services models that enable long-term economic growth necessary to improve livelihoods and build resiliency. FIRM utilizes Development Credit Authority (DCA) loan guarantees, technical assistance and consulting to de-risk credit processes used by financial and non-financial institutions across current market segments and new business opportunities.

FIRM also supports key policy reforms critical to the ongoing safe and sound evolution of the financial sector. It capitalizes on opportunities that advance the frontier of financial services into, for example, water, health, and education, in order to benefit marginalized and excluded populations across Kenyan society, including women and youth.

To achieve these objectives, FIRM works in partnership with and supports a wide variety of commercial actors in the financial services industry, Government of Kenya agencies and stakeholders, associations, donors, business service providers, and consultants.

Activity Description

Activity Description

FIRM offers customized consulting solutions to a wide variety of Kenyan partners, including the private sector and the Government of Kenya. For the private sector, the project enters into a partnership agreement (a contract) with non-disclosures, confidentiality agreements and specific deliverables tied to measureable outcomes. From there, FIRM generally works on strategy first and then supports operationalizing those strategies which often leads to specific product development.

As strategies produce quantifiable results for the partner, FIRM is often called upon to help upgrade internal systems and business functions (governance, human resource management, management information systems/information and communications technology, accounting/finance, treasury, etc.), to raise additional capital or to source U.S. government loan guarantees to keep pace with growth in new clientele, income and profitability.

With the Government of Kenya, FIRM responds to specific needs upon their request, drawing upon a deep pool of highly-qualified Kenyan and international experts. In support of devolution, FIRM encourages economic investment and development of Kenya’s newly-formed county governments to create the conditions for increased investment in Kenya’s critical agriculture and finance value chains.

FIRM also supports the underdeveloped renewable energy sub-sector under the U.S Presidential Power Africa Initiative. To do so, the activity works through a growing array of financial services providers that includes banks, microfinance institutions, Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations, financial service associations, community-based organizations and water boards.

Expected Outcomes

Expected Outcomes

FIRM expects to:

  • Expand access to affordable financial services for excluded and marginalized businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals throughout Kenya, particularly in rural areas;
  • Promote economic growth and contribute to USAID Kenya’s Feed-the-Future goal by sustainably reducing poverty and hunger.

Actual Outcomes

Actual Outcomes

FIRM has:

  • Established over 125 partnerships with local institutions in agriculture, clean/renewable energy and water finance;
  • Helped facilitate and unlock approximately $500 million in local commercial capital for ordinary Kenyans.
2012 - 2017
Award Number
Funding Level
Prime Implementing Partner
Population Focus