About

Microfinanza is a Limited Liability Company committed to making financial inclusion a permanent right worldwide

Background

In more than twenty three years of experience, Microfinanza Srl has acquired an in-depth knowledge of the access to finance and financial inclusion challenges. It has developed its own working methodology and tools to provide services and technical assistance to support both, the supply and demand sides. The Company has carried out several assignments in a large number of countries all over the world (sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Southeast Asia, MENA Region, Central Asia and the Caucasus, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Balkans and Europe) and has partnered with more than a hundred organizations across the worldwide.

Since 2002, Microfinanza Srl has been cooperating with Associazione Microfinanza e Sviluppo Onlus, an Italian non-profit association promoting initiatives in Italy and worldwide on financial education and, more in general, on access to finance. Some experts of Microfinanza Srl are active members of the association and are actively involved in the design and implementation of projects mainly targeting migrants, refugees and youth, in Italy as well as abroad.

All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.

Walter Benjamin

Until July 2017 the Company was one of the funders and main shareholders of Impact Finance Management, an asset manager company. Today, Microfinanza Srl is the main partner and shareholder of Impact Fin Italia, an impact asset manager supporting primarily agri-business projects, which has been developing a crowdfunding platform to support development initiatives.

Vision & Mission

Vision

We work to increase financial inclusion and make it permanent, globally. Financial inclusion is part of a greater path of freedom from discrimination, for a world that grants everyone opportunities and rights, respect for diversity and an authentic environmental sustainability.

Mission

We promote initiatives in the field of financial inclusion, for the development of technical and social innovations, for the benefit of vulnerable people and communities. We aim to work with them to foster ideas and knowledge and to promote autonomous improvement in their lives.

We support microfinance and financial inclusion organizations and their institutional partners to enhance their economic, social and environmental performance.

Governance and internal organization

Microfinanza Srl is internally organized according to different areas:

Governance area

The Governance area is responsible for institutional and corporate relationships and, for contact with clients and stakeholders. It is the main governance body of the Company. Within the Governance Area key roles are assigned for i) overall management ii) operational activities, iii) quality assurance and iv) communication and visibility.

  • Giampietro Pizzo (President)
  • Katia Raguzzoni
  • Fabio Malanchini
Administrative area

This area is responsible for the administrative and financial management of the Company.

  • Rossana Pento (Accounting Administration Manager)
  • Roberta Bisazza (Projects Administration Manager)
  • Isabella Zaupa (Operations Administration Manager)
Operational area

This area involves the team members leading the implementation of the different projects at national or international level. The area involves internal staff collaborating with external experts for performing project activities, developing operational tools and improving internal working methodologies.

The operational team is composed of Senior and especially Junior positions, with the specific aim of investing in the future of the Company, in a generational transfer of knowledge. The team is also integrated by youths involved through internship programs; moreover, the Company counts on an important network of highly specialized expert consultants.

 

Team

Giampietro Pizzo (Sr. Expert)

President and founding partner of Microfinanza, Giampietro is a seasoned microfinance specialist with 30 years of experience in coordinating and implementing technical assistance activities, evaluations, and research initiatives for numerous international and bilateral entities. His primary areas of expertise include financial inclusion frameworks as well as rural and SME finance. Prior to Microfinanza, Giampietro worked for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other development cooperation clients (including the EC). His global experience spans some 25 countries, most notably in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, but also in North Africa and the Middle East. Giampietro is the current president of the Italian Microfinance Network (RITMI) and former vice president of the European Microfinance Network (EMN).
Giampietro has a Master’s equivalent in Economics and Commerce from the University of Venice (Venice, Italy). He is fluent in English, French, and Spanish and has a working knowledge of Portuguese.

Katia Raguzzoni (Sr. Expert)

Partner and member of Microfinanza’s BoD Katia is an experienced project manager with an almost 20-year background in the design, implementation, and monitoring of multidisciplinary development cooperation initiatives. She has worked in some 15 countries primarily in North and sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but also in Asia as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. At Microfinanza, Katia is primarily involved in institutional diagnostics and capacity building (mostly governance related) of financial service providers as well as the provision of financial education and business start-up support to refugees and migrants. She also has experience in supporting the internationalization of SMEs and cross-border initiatives of local public authorities. Katia is a regular professor in project cycle management at the higher education level.
Katia holds a Master’s equivalent in History from the University of Bologna (Bologna, Italy) as well as a Master diploma in Cooperation in Developing Countries from the IFOA Business Management and Training Center (Reggio Emilia, Italy) and a graduate training diploma in Business Internationalization from the Aldini Valeriani Foundation / Bologna Chamber of Commerce (Bologna, Italy). She is fluent in English and French, and has some basic knowledge of Arabic.

Fabio Malanchini (Sr. Expert)

Founding partner of Microfinanza, Fabio is an economist with more than 20 years of experience in the impact investment and microfinance fields in some 50 countries worldwide. During the last seven years, he has established and managed Impact Finance Management, an investment fund financing innovative companies, projects and products with a high financial, social and environmental impact. After coming back to Microfinanza recently, Fabio is now mainly engaged in business development activities. As one of the founders and former executive director of Microfinanza Rating, he also has a strong background in the performance analysis and rating of financial service providers.
Fabio holds a Master’s equivalent in Economics and Social Sciences from Bocconi University (Milan, Italy). He is fluent in English and Spanish and has a working knowledge of French.

Alessandro Baroni (Sr. Expert)

Alessandro Baroni is a Financial Inclusion specialist with over 15 years of experience in the development and humanitarian sector, mainly in Africa and the Middle East. He has worked as a resident consultant in Jordan, Kenya, Eritrea, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique while providing advisory services in Sudan, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and other Sub-Saharan countries. Alessandro has experience in projects funded by EU, AICS, KFW, USAID, UNICEF and UNDP on emergency response, poverty reduction and local economic development. He implemented projects in coordination with MFIs, Central Banks, Coops, local and national authorities, civil society, and both formal and informal private sectors.
As a member of the KFW “Investing for Employment” project, Alessandro has reviewed project proposals in Ethiopia, Tunisia and Cote D’Ivoire (2020-2021). From 2016 until 2019, he has served as Financial Inclusion Senior Technical Advisor and Project Support Specialist for the USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support Project, launching Islamic and traditional financial services, digital products and innovative alternative channels for vulnerable populations in remote areas (women, youth, host communities). With Microfinanza, he has worked as a Technical Assistance Analyst for the Regmifa Sub-Saharan M-SME fund, providing financial and non-financial services to Partner Lending Institutions and entrepreneurs (2013-2016). Before that, he worked as manager and administrator for NGOs in Southern and Eastern Africa, providing emergency response and livelihood support to local vulnerable communities, refugees and IDPs (2004, 2009-2013).
Alessandro is a certified expert in SME finance. He holds a Master’s in Business from the University of Bergamo and a Degree in Political Sciences from the University of Milano. He speaks Italian, English, French and has practical knowledge of Levantine Arabic.

Davide Libralesso (Sr. Expert)

Davide Libralesso is a manager in the beyond profit sector who has recently joined Microfinanza as senior expert, in the sustainable and development finance sector. He has been operating in this context from fifteen years. Before joining Microfinanza he has been consulting the Switch Med Programme of the EU- Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production (CP/RAC), in the design of innovative financial solutions to boost the adoption of SCPs and the transition towards sustainability among the SMEs in the Mediterranean. Earlier Davide acted as head of Programmes and International Relations at Etimos Foundation, where he was responsible for the development of international programmes and partnerships, focusing on the role of the private sector in development.
He previously worked for international organizations, EU cooperation programmes, and Italian public institutions, mainly designing and promoting innovative financial solutions to leverage the potential of the private sector in developing and emerging contexts.
He has directly promoted the role of diaspora through several innovative international programmes, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where migrants play a pivotal role as development actors for their Countries of origin.
Davide has been part of the working group on Migration and Development at the Italian Council for Development Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
From 2016 to 2020 he has also been member of the Board of Directors of FEBEA, the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks.
Davide holds a degree in International Politics and Human Rights from the University of Padua, Italy.

Andrea Ricci (Expert)

Andrea has 10 years’ experience, including 50 months in non-European countries (Nepal and Myanmar). Andrea’s professional experience focuses on the coordination of economic development projects, with a particular focus on rural entrepreneurship. In the Mediterranean region, he has coordinated multi-country projects in Italy (Tuscany, Sardinia and other regions), France (Corsica), Portugal (Algarve) for the implementation of economic development and financial inclusion projects promoted by public and private actors in the rural sector. In recent years, he has managed programmes in the field of rural development and financial inclusion of MSMEs and farmers. Andrea holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics (University of Firenze, Italy) and a bachelor in Business Economics (University of Florence, Italy and Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Istanbul, Turkey). He has worked in the economic development sector with expertise in agri-food markets, local and regional development. He has very good knowledge of the project cycle, narrative and financial reporting, follow-up and monitoring. He speaks fluent English and French and has a working knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese

Matteo Solivo (Expert)

Matteo has more than 6 years of experience in impact evaluation, financial markets and investment analysis, as well as an extensive expertise in environmental and social sustainability and business governance. He has a strong background in capital markets and internal organization processes, besides expertise in financial guidance and business and administration consulting, thanks to training in qualitative and quantitative financial tools. He graduated from the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice with a Bachelor degree in Economics and Management and a Master degree in Economics and Finance. He also earned a post-graduate program in Finance at Fondazione CUOA.
He joined Microfinanza Srl in 2017 and his activity mainly focused on data analysis, research activities on microfinance markets and business development. His field of activity nowadays also includes impact measurement and management, and sustainability. He is in charge of the implementation of two substantive projects related to self-entrepreneurship.
He fluently speaks English and has a good knowledge of Spanish.

Elisa Ferrari De La Roche (Expert)

Elisa has more than ten years of experience in gender policies, sustainable development policies and development of innovation and social entrepreneurship programmes, capacity building of vulnerable groups, social sustainability, corporate governance and strategic relationship development. She has solid experience in social analysis, social and care economy processes gained in developing countries, as well as expertise in policymaking, materiality analysis, and business consulting through training in qualitative and quantitative social impact tools. Elisa is a graduate of the University of Bologna in Political Science and International Studies, with a master’s degree in sustainable development and stakeholder engagement from Andes University and a master’s degree in development management from Externado University in twinning with Columbia University. She is currently a student at the Enzo Biagi University of Economics in the Data Analysis for Economics and Management programme. She started to work with Microfinance in 2023 and her work has mainly focused on the management of European projects, structuring projects on social entrepreneurship and analyzing microfinance markets for the development of specific skills of women, migrants and young people. She is fluent in English and Spanish and has a good knowledge of French.

Nadia Radouani (Expert)

Nadia Radouani has an academic background in Philosophy and International Relations with a focus on the MENA region. Prior to joining Microfinanza Srl, Nadia developed a large experience in the digital sector, social inclusion and diplomacy, both in the private and public sectors, with organisations such as the Italian Embassy in Prague, and with NGOs and international organisations in Europe and North Africa. In the last five years she has developed specific expertise as a project coordinator, promoting social inclusion, analysing complex contexts and humanitarian crises, through the assignment at Luiss University and at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, based in Geneva, Switzerland.
She is currently working for Microfinanza on M&E in the frame of the EU funded WE-RISE! project in Sudan, and developing new projects in North Africa.
Nadia is fluent in Arabic, Italian, English and French.

Anna Maria (Jr. Expert)

Ana Maria Brinzanu is a practitioner with a strong background in international political issues and sustainable development. Ana Maria Brinzanu has acquired a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted challenges arising from the convergence of contemporary crises, thanks to her pursuit of an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s degree in Sustainable Territorial Development (STeDE) from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and Università degli Studi di Padova. This educational journey equipped her with a holistic perspective and equipped her with a diverse array of approaches to effectively address these challenges.  She has practical experience as an intern in Action Research for the Dominia Research project at VUB and Ku Leuven, where she conducted research on local food systems and public policies related to agri-food systems at different policy-making levels, and organized multiple action research activities. Additionally, Ana Maria has volunteered in various domanins, such as immigration, leading workshops on international relations and sustainability. She is fluent in Italian and Romanian, with advanced proficiency in English and French. Currently, Ana Maria works as a Junior project officer in Tunisia. 

Marianna Martino (Expert)

Marianna Martino is an expert in the field of communication and social development. She has a solid experience in strategic planning and implementation of communication projects related to impact programmes. With a decade of experience in cultural and social inclusion projects, she has worked with cultural institutions in Italy and France and coordinated international projects in Europe, Armenia, Africa and Myanmar. Marianna joined Microfinance in 2022 and is in charge of the communication for the different intervention areas. She is also the general coordinator of the Italian Microfinance Network (RITMI), with which she develops projects on financial education, women’s entrepreneurship and financial inclusion.
Sheis fluent in French and English.

Collaborators

  • Luca Borella

Luca Borella is a financial economist with experience in impact assessment, credit data management and Open Banking.
Luca is particularly interested in digital platform business models applied to financing use cases for their ability to create capital and well-being for end-users. He is a strong support of Open Source and Open Data principles.Luca holds a Master’s equivalent in Econometrics and Engineering in Financial Mathematics from Sorbonne University and Ca’ Foscari University.

  • Marcel Chiranov

A senior professional experienced in leading teams towards reaching their strategic objectives, designing and managing the implementation of Performance Management Plans/Systems (Monitoring & Evaluation Systems), and Impact Assessment Plans. Implemented projects for various industries: financial services, business services, ITC, health care, manufacturing, education, governance reform, policy reform, labor market restructuring, program management, and economic development, anti-trafficking. Successfully designed and managed implementation of Performance Management Plan (M&E System) for programs cumulatively worth over $12 billion. Used to work with private, or public organizations, with international donors (USAID, Bill and Melinda Gates, USDoL, World Bank, EU, UNDP); experienced in working in transition economies. MSc in Physics and Certified Project Management Professional by Project Management Institute, USA.

  • Carmelo Galeano

Carmelo is a consultant specialized in EU and national funds. Within Microfinanza, his main activities include looking for new partnership opportunities, writing grant proposals and coordinating national and international projects (European level). He has extensive experience in the main EU programmes, such as LIFE, Horizon 2020, EASI, and COSME and not EU ones, such as EEA Grants.
Graduated in Political Science and International relations at the University of Bologna in 2013, Carmelo fluently speaks English and has a basic knowledge of French.

  • Maria Grandinson

Maria is an economist with 20 years of experience in the private sector development and investment climate related fields (including access to finance). She is engaged in assignments for various international organizations (EC, ECOWAS, IFC, UNCDF, etc.) and has worked in some 20 countries worldwide (mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in Asia and Eastern Europe). Main areas of activity include program evaluations (assessing relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability using various quantitative and qualitative techniques) as well as capacity building and policy advice. With Microfinanza, Maria is primarily involved in the evaluation of financial inclusion initiatives and the provision of diagnostics and training (mostly related to Social Performance Management).
Maria holds a Master of Arts in International Relations and International Economics from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University (Washington DC, USA and Bologna, Italy) as well as a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Gothenburg (Gothenburg, Sweden). Apart from her native Swedish, she is fluent in English and Italian and has a working knowledge of French.

  • Marco Pasini

Marco is a microfinance specialist with close to 15 years of experience in development cooperation and emergency assistance. He has worked for international and national donors as well as NGOs in some 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the Balkans. With Microfinanza, Marco is mostly engaged in the promotion of agricultural and rural finance (including the provision of financial education) as well as green microfinance (namely the development of business models supporting the use of clean or renewable energy products through access to finance). His experience also includes the administration, management, and monitoring of various projects, including health and food security interventions.
Marco has a Master’s equivalent in International and Diplomatic Services from the University of Bologna (Forlì, Italy) and is a certified expert in microfinance by the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management (Frankfurt, Germany). In addition to being fluent in English and French, he has a working knowledge of Spanish as well as some knowledge of German, Haitian Creole, Kiswahili, and Polish.

  • Simone Piceno

Simone is a consultant specialized in microfinance and business development services for MSMEs and Social Enterprises. He has worked in several microcredit programs in Sicily, where he was involved in tutoring, business coaching, monitoring and management activities.
He is associated partner at Impact Hub Siracusa, where he is responsible for business services and partnerships with financial intermediaries.
He has a BA in Economics Development and International Cooperation from the University of Palermo and he is fluent in English.

  • Valeria E. Pujia

With a solid preparation in applied economics (supported by both quantitative and qualitative tools), Valeria has matured seven years of professional experience in the microfinance field. Valeria is mainly engaged in the provision of institutional assessments and capacity building support, with a strong focus on Social Performance Management and Client Protection. She is also involved in program evaluations and market analyses. In addition to a recent long-term assignment in Cambodia, she has gained specific field experience in several other countries in Asia as well as Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Finally, Valeria is a member of the financial education working group of the Italian Microfinance Network (RITMI).
Valeria has a Master and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Bocconi University (Milan, Italy) as well as a Diploma in Development and International Cooperation from the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) (Milan, Italy). She is fluent in English and has a working knowledge of Portuguese.

  • Marco Ferrarato 

Marco is an accountant analyst with 11 years of experience in assistance and development in the administration-finance-control area. After graduating from the University of Ferrara with a degree in Business Administration and Management, he worked as a chartered accountant in a well-known accounting firm in Padua, while attending the Management Development Programme (PSM) at SDA Bocconi (Milan). Particularly interested in issues related to management control, management control, performance improvement and business evaluation, he has carried out refresher courses dedicated to Business Process Management (BPM) at MIP – Politecnico di Milano School of Management. He has been working for years as a teacher/trainer at training organisations and schools and in the last period he has established himself as an Innovation Manager working on projects dedicated to Business Intelligence and Strategic Management in private companies.

Collaborations

We count on a wide range of collaborations with entities from different sectors and regions across the public and private sectors, including local and national authorities, international bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Among them:

The opinions of our collaborators about Microfinanza

ADA, Executive adviser, March 2019

"For this mission, Microfinanza has provided its expertise to carry out the project activities and the company has carried out its tasks with diligence and commitment. The mission was carried out in a timely and professional manner by the expert who participated in the mission."

Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation, Head of inclusive Finance development, December 2018

“The Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation is pleased with the quality of the study conducted by Microfinanza. They have been able to establish very good relationships with the various organizations they met and were able to have a relevant holistic analysis of the refugees’ context in both countries and their needs for financial and non-financial services. It has been easy to exchange with the team during the whole mission. They took into consideration our various remarks for the final reports and were very open to discuss with us the final recommendations of their report.”

UNCDF, Evaluation Unit (July 2018)

"The Evaluation Unit of the United Nations Development Fund had the opportunity to work with Microfinanza on several occasions in the area of ​​multi-country program evaluations.

Microfinanza's evaluation team worked diligently and professionally in response to the terms of reference and produced quality evaluation reports in accordance with the United Nations system evaluation standards."

AICS , Representative of the Italian Agency of the Development Cooperation (October 2017)

"The mission took place under the "Start Up Palestine" program, a three-year bilateral initiative aimed at reducing the unemployment rate and boosting income-generating activities in Palestine, with a focus on women and men. young people, supporting the development of micro-entrepreneurship and promoting access to credit among marginalized groups.

We confirm that the mission was carried out and carried out satisfactorily and professionally."

SYMBIOTICS, Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officers (July 2015)

"During this long collaboration, we appreciated the professionalism and expertise of Microfinanza Srl and its team, two key success factors of the TA component of REGMIFA's TA component. In addition, we appreciated the availability and flexibility of the Microfinanza team and their professional knowledge of AT procedures and content in microfinance and other development-related financial topics.

Microfinanza Srl is a reliable and committed partner and we are very satisfied with our collaboration and the results obtained under the REGMIFA TA program.

We are therefore happy to recommend Microfinanza Srl for other similar initiatives."

ACP/EUMICROFINANCE, Programme Management Unit (April 2015)

“The project was selected in a highly competitive call for proposals, as it showed a very innovative and ambitious approach. The aim of the project was to develop innovative end-user financing and delivery models for clean energy technologies, among which improved cook-stoves. We are very satisfied by the achievements of ASA Initiative and Microfinanza and feel the initiative deserves to be continued.”

Membership

Microfinanza is member of: