Solidarity, innovation, credit, development, transparency and impact: six key words to express what we believe in, what we have learned, what we do and how we do it.
Now we add a new key word: the environment. Our current projects in Italy, Kenya, Senegal and Philippines include actions contrasting climate change that help our beneficiaries to build more sustainable and more productive businesses.
Etimos is born with the name Ctm-Mag in the context of a civic engagement movement that establishes itself in Italy in the late '80s. It includes thousands of people belonging to different worlds – volunteerism, cooperation, pacifism - yet united by the same ideals of social equality that they wish to consolidate through concrete actions of economic justice. In this context Ctm-Mag operates as a credit union in support of the development of fair trade and social economy in Italy.
In February, the first Microcredit Summit is held in New York City. A historic event, which opens new scenarios for the fight against poverty in developing countries. Ctm-Mag is the only Italian pratictioner in attendance, along with more than 3,000 delegates from 137 countries.
This is a pivotal year. With the launch of Banca Etica, of which it is a founding member, Ctm-Mag changes its name to Etimos and becomes an international cooperative consortium. Etimos shifts its focus from the Italian context to the countries of the Global South, with activities in Africa and Latin America. This year also sees the birth of Choros Foundation, which is later renamed Etimos Foundation. The foundation is involved in research, project design, training and cultural promotion on issues of social finance and cooperation.
Etimos consortium and Choros Foundation extend their presence to the Balkans, in Kosovo and Bosnia. Here for the first time microcredit is used as post-emergency reconstruction tool, with a dual purpose: on the one hand to intervene on a social fabric destroyed by the war, the other to accompany the delicate transition from a socialist model to a market economy.
On the 26th December a violent tsunami hit the coasts of the Indian Ocean, causing thousands of death. The Italian Civil Protection appointed Consorzio Etimos to intervene in Sri Lanka, managing a 6 millions euro fund for reconstruction activities.
We celebrated the International Year of Microcredit, declared by the UN; Etimos joined the National Council of the Italian Committee for Microcredit. The assembly of all Etimos members met in Peru and signed the Cuzco Charter: a veritable pact between organizations of the north and south of the world, to draw a new cooperation and development model. In october we launched Master's degree in development finance, promoted and coordinated by Etimos, in collaboration with the Faculty of Economics, University of Parma.
The awarding of the Nobel prize to M. Yunus consecrates the effectiveness of microcredit, raising awareness of this tool among the general public. Meanwhile Etimos is growing. Earlier in the year it extends its presence to Sri Lanka, which is devastated by a tsunami: here, on behalf of the Civil Defense agency, it manages a fund of more than 6 million Euros allocated to the reconstruction effort. In October, it promotes and coordinates the Master's level course in Finance for Development, in collaboration with the Faculty of Economics, University of Parma.
Between 2007 and 2009 Etimos opens regional offices in Sti Lanka, Senegal and Latin America. It is the first step in a process of decentralisation that leverages the skills and leadership of local partners in developing countries. In late 2009, Choros Foundation becomes a participatory foundation and officially takes the name Etimos Foundation.
Etimos restarts operations in Italy. The Civil Defence agency entrusts Etimos with 5 million Euros to manage a post-emergency microcredit intervention in L'Aquila and in the municipalities affected by the earthquake of April 6, 2009: this marks the beginning of the Microcredito per l’Abruzzo project.
Etimos is promoter and advisor manager of two investment funds specialized in microfinance, which are launched during this year: Etimos Fund and Fefisol, the European social investment fund for Africa. Meanwhile the development of microcredit activities in Abruzzo leads to the establishment of a specialized company, Microcredito per l’Italia, a social enterprise and financial intermediary formally acknowledged by the Bank of Italy.
A further step forward for the activities in Italy. Renzo Rosso, founder of the Diesel brand, entrusts Etimos with 5 million Euros for a post-emergency intervention in the municipalities of Emilia and Lombardia affected by the earthquake.
Etimos turns 25. With over 120 million Euros in investments in over 30 countries, in favour of microfinance organisations, cooperatives of small producers and social enterprises, Etimos is acknowledged as pioneer and best practice purveyor in the field of Impact investing. The company president, Marco Santori, is invited to join the Advisory Board of the G8’s Italian Task Force on social impact investment. Etimos expands its Asian activities with a post-emergency intervention project in the Philippine islands recently hit by a typhoon.
Etimos positions itself as an international network of organisations that promote investments and projects that improve people's lives. The network includes Etimos Foundation, Etimos Consortium, Microcredito per l’Italia, Etiecuamos, Etimos Africa and Etimos Lanka.
Ours is a 25 year old story
It all begins within that current of the social and civil economy that establishes itself in Italy in the late '80s. Our company traces its roots among the credit unions and the area of solidarity finance, supporting fair trade as a form of alliance between consumers in the North and producers in the South, and funding the growth of social cooperation and the non-profit sector in Italy.
In the late 90's we were among the first to employ new methods in the financial sector in the context of international cooperation. We always believed in microcredit, in supporting a type of agriculture that does not exploit small producers but helps them grow, in community projects that operate as true social enterprises. A commitment that continues today and is reflected in almost 100 million Euros of investments in support of over 120 local organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Since 2009 we also operate in microfinance in Italy. We are convinced that microcredit can be a tool for development and welfare at the same time, capable of contrasting economic decline and impoverishment in the richest societies.