SVMN’s Microfinance 101 Course — April 16, 23, & 30, 2009



Silicon Valley Microfinance Network (SVMN) is proud to offer “Microfinance 101” (MF101) — a course in the fundamentals of microfinance, an important tool for economic development around the world.  This training will equip participants with a rich working knowledge of the basic theories, history, and trends in the field of microfinance.  It will explore why and how microfinance operations have grown to provide financial services to poor and low-income people on a broad and growing scale and will discuss the struggles for sustainability.  The course is targeted to executives who want mobilize their companies into action in the microfinance space, to professionals who are looking to transition their careers, and to anyone who wants to gain a substantial understanding of the origins, workings, and current landscape of microfinance.

The course will cover historical origins of microfinance, business reasons behind group lending and a focus on women clients, management of microfinance institutions (MFIs), investor perspectives, geographic difference in microfinance services (between countries, and between urban and rural areas), and the emerging area ‘beyond microfinance,’ other products and services being delivered using microfinance infrastructure.

To register, please click on the SVMN registration link here:



Thursday, April 16 — 6:30-8:30pm
Thursday, April 23 — 6:30-8:30pm
Thursday, April 30 — 6:30-8:30pm

Where: Omidyar Network

1991 Broadway Street, Suite 200
Redwood City, CA 94063
(directions here)


$500 regular attendee | $200 students & nonprofits w/ ID


MF101 will consist of three 2-hour sessions, once per week for three consecutive weeks.  It will run 6:30 — 8:30pm on Thursdays, April 16, 23, and 30

The meetings will be brown bag style; feel free to bring dinner with you.



Sean Foote

Sean Foote


MF101 will be taught by your own SVMN Faculty, Silicon Valley Microfinance Network Board Members Sean Foote as primary instructor and Maya Chorengel, Tracey Pettengill Turner, and Elizabeth Funk as guest lecturers.  Instructor Sean Foote is a partner at Labrador Ventures and a veteran venture capitalist who actively serves on boards of both private companies and nonprofit organizations and lectures on microfinance at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.  His brilliant and engaging style make this course an interactive experience whose material participants will draw on for years to come.

Maya Chorengel is the Managing Director of Elevar Equity, which manages the Unitus Equity Fund and Unitus Equity Fund II and is one of the most active equity investors at the base of the pyramid.

Elizabeth Funk is the Chairperson of Unitus, a leading microfinance accelerator. She is also the founder and CEO of Dignity Fund, a debt fund for microfinance.

Tracey Pettengill Turner is the Founder of MicroPlace, a socially-oriented company that allows individuals to invest in microfinance institutions starting with just $20.

(See below for lecturers’ full bios.)

The SVMN Faculty believes in raising the level of understanding about microfinance and helping people move into the sector, and they are generously donating their time and expertise for this course.

Instructor Biographies

Sean Foote, Instructor

Mr. Foote, Partner at Labrador Ventures, has been a venture capitalist investing in early stage companies for the past 10 years. He is active on the board of directors of Eoplex Technologies, Everyone.netIntegrated Materials Inc.Altierre Corporation and Solaicx. He also serves on the Development Council of Entrepreneurs Foundation, a nonprofit organization that engages high growth companies in corporate citizenship and philanthropic efforts; Silicon Valley Microfinance Network (SVMN); and Freedom from Hunger,a nonprofit, international development organization that fights against hunger and poverty; and he is founder of Community Promise, an education-focused nonprofit.

Before venture investing, Mr. Foote was a management consultant with Boston Consulting Group, working in a wide range of industries such as telecom, computers, healthcare, banking, and automotive on topics ranging from strategic alliances to Internet strategies. Mr. Foote also worked as a systems engineer for AT&T Bell Laboratories, developing artificial intelligence systems for testing the most complicated telecommunications networks.

Mr. Foote is a lecturer at the University of California’s Haas School of Business, where he teaches the top ranked venture capital and private equity classes as well as Microfinance.   He has also taught classes on entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan’s Business School, University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Mr. Foote received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri Rolla (1988), and his MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business (1993), where he received the Shermett Award granted to the top 3% of students.

Tracey Pettengill Turner, Guest Lecturer

Tracey is a well known social entrepreneur committed to finding market-based solutions to global poverty. She is a seasoned business executive who has been involved in international development, social investing and philanthropy for more than 15 years. Prior to founding MicroPlace, Tracey was CFO of KickStart, an organization that designs and sells products focused on poverty alleviation. In 1998, she started her first company, 4charity, a web-based marketplace for charitable giving, and served as its CEO. Earlier in her career, Tracey held a variety of positions with socially responsible firms including the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Calvert Ventures and the World Bank.

Tracey’s numerous leadership awards include 2000 Top 25 Women of the Web Award, San Francisco Business Times Leadership Award and a Working Woman Magazine Entrepreneurship Award. Tracey holds a degree in engineering and economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Stanford Business School. Outside MicroPlace, Tracey plays left wing on her soccer team, trains for Ironman triathlons and snowshoes in Lake Tahoe with her husband.

Maya Chorengel, Guest Lecturer

Maya Chorengel is a Managing Director of Elevar Equity, LLC, which manages Unitus Equity Fund and Unitus Equity Fund II.  The two funds, totaling just under $100 million in assets to date, provide equity financing to microfinance institutions and companies providing products and services to the underserved in India, Southeast Asia and Latin America.  Having invested in 8 companies since 2006, Elevar Equity is one of the most active equity investors at the base of the pyramid.  Signature investments include SKS, currently India’s largest national MFI with over 3 million customers, and Ujjivan, India’s leading urban focused MFI.  The funds intend to bridge the gap between underserved communities and global capital, helping to create a virtuous cycle of opportunity based on open access for all.

Maya has been involved in microfinance investing since 2005.  Prior to co-founding Elevar Equity, she was Managing Director of the Dignity Fund, a private investment fund that provided local-currency loans and guarantees to commercially oriented, high-growth microfinance institutions throughout the developing world.  Maya serves on the boards of Comat Technologies, the Dignity Fund and Silicon Valley Microfinance Network.  She also serves on the advisory board of WaterPartners International, as well as the investment committees of the Dignity Fund, MicroCredit Enterprises and Wokai. Prior to joining the Dignity Fund, Maya was a Vice President of the private equity firm, Warburg Pincus, working in the firm’s New York, Hong Kong and Menlo Park offices. She invested in a variety of companies, from early stage business service ventures and mature consumer packaged goods companies in the US, to manufacturing, service and food companies located in Hong Kong, China, South Korea, the Philippines and the US.  Earlier in her career she was an associate in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley Asia Limited (Hong Kong and Singapore) and an analyst at James D. Wolfensohn, Incorporated. Maya graduated with Honors in Social Studies from Harvard University and has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.  Maya has lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, the East Coast and the Third Coast (ie Chicago), but now lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two very active boys.

Elizabeth Funk, Guest Lecturer

Elizabeth Funk is actively involved in supporting rapid growth and commercialization in the Microfinance industry, which provides small loans to the world’s poor allowing them to start businesses and build their own way out of poverty.  She serves on the Board of Unitus, a leading Microfinance accelerator, where she served as Chairman for 2007-2008.  She is also a co-founder and Board member of Unitus’ for-profit sister company, Unitus Investment Group, mobilizing invested dollars towards the alleviation of poverty. Ms. Funk is the founder and CEO of the Dignity Fund, a debt fund for Microfinance.

Prior to becoming Chair of Unitus, Ms. Funk served as the President and CEO of CML Global Capital, a diversified international investment firm.  Prior to joining CML, Ms. Funk was one of the earliest employees of Yahoo!, where she helped formulate Yahoo!’s initial shopping, online Finance and commerce strategy, and helped grow that business to comprise a major source of Yahoo!’s revenues and customer usage.   Ms. Funk spent four years at Microsoft Corporation where she served as a Product Manager for Microsoft Word and as one of the early members of the Microsoft Office team.

Ms. Funk is an active member of the Young President’s Organization (“YPO”) serving as the Chair of the Board of the Pacific Region, and as a founder of Social Enterprise Networks, an initiative within YPO that brings together members worldwide on projects that “make a difference” in the world.  Her other board involvements include Deutsche Bank’s Global Microfinance Consortium Fund, the Silicon Valley Microfinance Network, Glide Community Development Corporation (San Francisco), I-Spire (London) and Imperial Parking (Hong Kong).

Ms. Funk holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations and Economics with Honors from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she graduated in 1996 as a Baker Scholar.  She is a frequent speaker about Microfinance, to audiences such as at the US Department of State, the Forbes CEO Conference, and the Clinton Global Initiative.  She was recently named the “Female Entrepreneur of the Year” by TiE.  She has been profiled in publications including Forbes, the San Jose Mercury News, and Business Week.  Ms. Funk has two children and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.



2 thoughts on “SVMN’s Microfinance 101 Course — April 16, 23, & 30, 2009

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s