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Until 2020, Open to Grow provided loan funds in Guatemala and Nicaragua but only in one country at a time. In 2021, due to unforeseen circumstances (see Our Story), we began operations simultaneously in two countries with SERVIGUA in Guatemala; and PANA PANA in Nicaragua.
SERVIGUA is a registered non-profit organization founded in 2009. In 2006, six Quiche university students studying business and economics saw a bad situation in their communities and then worked together as part of their thesis to make it better. The students all knew each other and had worked in economic development and microcredit projects. They recognized that existing microfinance organizations did not have a large presence in Quiche communities as their credit officers did not speak the Quiche language or understand its culture.
Following graduation they began to organize a new microfinance institution, consulted with international organizations, attracted volunteers to their project and raised USD 40,000. SERVIGUA opened its doors in 2009 and began to make small loans to poor micro-entrepreneurs.
Today SERVIGUA has a loan portfolio of USD 1.9 million, 18 employees and over 950 clients. It serves poor mainly Indigenous borrowers in Santa Cruz del Quiche (head office), Chichicastenango and communities in the Quiche Department. It is a member of two microfinance networks, REDIMIF and REDFASCO.
PANA PANA is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 by Indigenous Miskito people in the RAAN (North Atlantic Region) of Nicaragua. Initially its focus was on economic development projects in Indigenous communities in the RAAN (North Atlantic region). During this initial period, it began to provide credit in-kind for seeds and tools for fishing and agriculture with the best beneficiaries of the development projects becoming its first borrowers.
Today PANA PANA has a loan portfolio of USD 1.25 million, 37 employees and over 2,000 clients. It makes small loans to poor Indigenous entrepreneurs the majority of whom are women, and housing loans for small improvements and repairs. Its head office is in Bilwis (Puerto Cabezas) with branches in Waspan, Rosita, Bonanza and Managua.
It is member of ASOMIF, an association of MFIs in Nicaragua that provides excellent statistical information and other services to its members, and has a license from the National Council of Microfinance (CONAMI).