microStart is a group of innovative socially-oriented firms created in 2010 of which the job is – through microcredit – to finance and support those excluded from the banking system (jobseekers, recipients of help from Public Social Welfare Centres (Centres publics d’aide sociale (CPAS)/Openbare Centra voor Maatschappelijk Welzijn (OCMW) and the self-employed, etc.), to create or to develop a small independent business.
The microStart Group is made up:
- A cooperative company for social purposes (SCRL-FS) distributing microcredit
- A NPO (microStart asbl) that supports the cooperative's customers free of charge.
A microfinance institution, the microStart group was inspired by a financial innovation arising in Bangladesh, where Muhammad Yunus created the Grameen Bank in 1976. The model of the Grameen Bank was adapted in Europe at the end of the eighties by Maria Nowak, who in France founded an association for the right to economic initiatives ("Association pour le Droit à l’Initiative Economique", hereinafter, "Adie") in 1988. Adie is today a leader in Western Europe.
In 2010, Adie and BNP Paribas Fortis – the leading bank in Belgium and the European Union – together created microStart SCRL-FS in the form of a pilot programme aiming to provide an innovative answer to founders of companies in Brussels.