The Start of Something New: Expansion in Central Bali
At the end of 2009, Koperasi Mitra Usaha Kecil (MUK) was a microfinance presence in West Bali, operating at its headquarters office in the village of Blimbingsari and a single branch in Melaya. As we approach the end of 2010, MUK’s footprint is steadily expanding. Earlier this year, the microfinance cooperative established a second branch office in Pejarakan, Singaraja in North Bali. And MUK is gearing up to open its third branch in the coming month, which will be based in the village of Baturiti in the Tabanan region of central Bali.
Baturiti is in the mountains of Bali, and with fertile land and cool temperatures has many thriving agriculture businesses. The area was carefully chosen for MUK’s next branch given its rural location (as MUK targets low-income rural clients), the wide array of businesses in the area – including agricultural crops, animal husbandry, and retail, and the results of an area survey to determine the potential demand for MUK’s financial services. Importantly, when MUK begins to roll out loan and savings products in the Baturiti community, it will continue to survey clients to ensure products meet demand, or are adapted as needed.
Before business opens in the area, there is still a lot of work ahead for the staff. An office location needs to be found, field officers need to be hired, and a license needs to be obtained from the local government. On my first and final visit to Baturiti two weeks ago, however, we took an important step forward for the new branch: signing up over 30 new members in the region. For a microfinance cooperative in Indonesia, these new stakeholders are a necessary step in the process of expansion and will help establish MUK’s presence in the village.
Joanne Gan just finished her Kiva Fellowship with MUK in Bali, Indonesia, and is now beginning her second fellowship with the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation in the Philippines. While her fellowship at MUK has come to an end, she is excited for the new beginnings in store for the MFI. To join the MUK lending team on Kiva, click here.