Our Mission

Five Talents' mission is to:

Empower the poor by promoting innovative savings and micro-credit programmes along with business training and holistic development.

Our goals are:

  • To fight poverty in the developing world
  • To create jobs by equipping the poor with skills and resources to start and expand small businesses
  • To transform lives by bringing hope and dignity


Microfinance initiatives support small businesses. Through training and small loans, Five Talents helps to establish and nurture small businesses. Training in business skills combines with loans for stock, equipment, raw materials, land, premises etc. ( to help establish grocers, hairdressers, bakers, brick-makers, shoe-repairers) This tackles poverty bottom up. Each business builds economic independence for the individual entrepreneur, their families and the families of those they employ. Employment and independence bring dignity. Five Talents creates jobs to fight poverty.

Microenterprise development is an efficient and effective method for fighting poverty and raising entrepreneurs in developing countries. By contrast, top-down grant programmes often lead to dependency. Micro-loans programmes maintain ownership and responsibility with the entrepreneur significantly enhancing the success rate. Since the loan capital is constantly revolving to other entrepreneurs, it is an extremely cost-effective method of micro-enterprise development.

"Since 1999, Five Talents has provided funding for technical assistance and thousands of small loans to entrepreneurs in 12 countries in Africa, Central and South America, and Asia. Each loan finances a business that in turn employs 2-10 other people. Women represent 68% of all loan recipients."

How Does Five Talents Work?

In most cases we follow the 10-step procedure below:

  1. Identify a Partner - Five Talents identifies, trains and funds a partner to run a micro-loans programme. This is normally with the help of the local anglican church in the country concerned.
  2. Group Formation - Groups of entrepreneurs are invited for training. Groups are between 5-10 people. They can be all women, all men, or a mixture.
  3. Training - The groups are trained by the local Five Talents staff in basic business skills: planning, marketing, book-keeping.
  4. Savings - Groups open a bank account and start regular saving, to reach 30% of their requested loan amount. This is a sign of commitment and part-security for the loan
  5. Business Planning - Clients draw up their individual business plans, and apply for a group loan.
  6. Loan - Loans are deposited on the Group account, once all conditions have been met. In the first round, loans are a maximum of £40 per person.
  7. Investment - Each entrepreneur uses his/her share of the loan to invest in his/her business. For example, buying a piece of equipment, machinery, or stock.
  8. Monitoring - Five Talents local staff visit the clients for encouragement and supervision.
  9. Repayment - Loans are repaid over 6 months with interest. The interest pays the local staff and office running costs. The Group is jointly responsible for repayments. Late payments can be met from the prior-savings.
  10. Recycling - The loan, when paid back, is then loaned out to other groups. Groups can re-apply for subsequent (and bigger) loans as their businesses expand. Some groups are on their 8th or 9th loan cycle. Eventually the business has grown to provide sufficient collateral to qualify for individual loans from commercial banks.

We have produced a 9 minute video showing Five Talents at work in Uganda - business training, client interviews, some case studies and an overview of how Five Talents works with the active poor. Click here to view.

Living Parable

"Master," he said, "You have entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more." His master replied. "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in a few things; I will put you in charge of many things" (Matthew 25:20-21).

This parable is a brilliant example of good stewardship, investment returns, risk-taking, self-motivation, accountability and many other topics useful for successful business. We have now seen 16,000 clients take small loans and after a few months come back saying "look what I've achieved!"

If clients wish, they can apply for second and subsequent loans ( slightly bigger than before ) as they build their track record.

The parable reminds us that:

  • We all have abilities - this is a very empowering message for the poor.
  • Starting small is fine - notice the small entrepreneur receives an equal commendation as the larger one.
  • Burying your talents is a big mistake!


Five Talents currently supports loan programmes in the following countries.Click on a link to find more details:

How we Work

Five Talents targets those at the bottom of the economic ladder. We use the grassroots network of the worldwide Anglican church to help identify projects and local partners. We insist on strict reporting and make on-site visits to ensure good use of loan and training funds.

The Group is the Key

Local banks cannot afford to lend small sums of money to many entrepreneurs who have little or no collateral. The risks are too high.

But Group-lending is a proven methodology of micro-enterprise development. Groups are normally formed of 5-10 people who self-select each other. Each member of the group co-guarantees the loans of the others. This peer pressure ensures high repayment rates, averaging 85-100%. The group method also reduces the costs of loan administration, monitoring and follow-up.

Principles governing programmes

  • Strong local leadership and governance , outside the church structure.
  • Value-based principles focusing on poor.
  • Financially sound with each local programme sustained from loan interest
  • Vision for individual and community transformation (holistic) - not just a cold financial service
  • Loan Officers have "Heart of a Pastor: Mind of a Banker" quality and attitude.

Bono, Lead Singer, U2

You know that mantra, "Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime?" It's missing something: microfinance is the fishing rod, the boat, the net, etc.

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