START Microfinance: Integrated Reporting and SDGs for Microfinance Institutions

Professor Omneya Abdelsalam and Professor Carol Adams worked on a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project that aims to help leaders and employees at a Microfinance institution in Kosovo, START, to improve performance and contribution to SDGs through integrated reporting. START is the first and largest Islamic microfinance institution in Kosovo. Since its inception in 2002, it has served over 17,000 clients and has disbursed more than €27 million in loans. Committed to its mission, START provides services in favour of the poor and the needy (according to its mission statement – “regardless of their race, colour, political affiliation, gender or belief”) and aims to increase financial inclusion for all. The institution is oriented towards providing Shariah Compliant financial services to its clients, offering two financial instruments, namely Qard Hasan and Murabaha loans. In linking START’s performance with SDGs, the academics find that with START’s ‘Social Enterprise’ approach (i.e. maintaining all the elements of a business but acting with a completely humanitarian approach and intention), START is able to contribute to most of the goals. The strongest SDG performance, however, is seen in SDG 1 ‘No Poverty’ and SDG 10 ‘Reduced Inequalities’, as START promotes financial inclusion for all, as well as SDG 8 ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’, as it provides a uniquely safe and fulfilling working environment whilst also encouraging entrepreneurship and economic growth through loans.