The Hilltop Microfinance Initiative (HMFI) is managed and staffed by Georgetown University students who choose to commit their time without compensation to the cause of entrepreneurship. Our organization prides itself on the passion of our employees to provide one-on-one services. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered in Washington D.C. that is financed entirely by the generosity of individuals and foundations committed to our ideals of financial empowerment and entrepreneurship.
HMFI aims to empower individuals by promoting financial independence and stimulating economic growth in the DC area. We offer a committed partnership that helps small business owners excluded from the commercial lending system grow their businesses by providing affordable access to capital.
HMFI was founded in 2008 by then-Georgetown students Eugene Goldberg, Mohit Narang, Alex Siegel, and Max O’Neill, who were inspired by Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus’s work with microfinance in Bangladesh.
HMFI disbursed its first loan to Bernardo, allowing him to purchase a new refrigerator for his food truck and eventually open his own grocery store.
HMFI recruited students on campus and expanded to 10 members. CFO Craig Melcher and CEO Alex Honjiyo created HMFI’s internal operating framework.
HMFI sought to expand its recruitment and fundraising capacities and adopted a new strategy focusing on pitches and referrals. COO Alissa Orlando worked with local churches, businesses, and organizations focused on financial exclusion to seek new clients.
HMFI separated its underwriting process from its client-facing outreach to promote organizational efficiency. Financial coaching courses catered to a client base of more than 100. HMFI secured a $10,000 grant from Capital One to the develop a credit builder loan.
HMFI expanded its educational coaching module, and began hosting large group sessions through Empowered Women International and other partner organizations. Throughout the year, HMFI worked with over 70 individuals and found that 80% of clients saw an improvement in their credit score after six months.
HMFI revamped the Client Recruitment model to reach clients seeking small business loans. To reshape the department, HMFI developed a guide for effective outreach that focused on finding receptive neighborhoods and better in-person communication.
The Client Services Team developed new financial literacy courses, which would later evolve into financial coaching modules. The Monitoring Department created a more robust evaluation process to tailor loans to businesses in diverse sectors. HMFI saw continuous growth throughout the year, highlighted by a new style guide and $17,000 in donations during the Friends and Family Drive.
HMFI leadership aimed to focus HMFI’s resources on developing a new approach to community development organizations (CDOs) and host dialogue around diversity and inclusion.