Zero-Kap exists as a named fund under the FEMI umbrella. The fund provides credit to people in developing countries trapped in structural poverty, but who have ideas and ambitions of escaping poverty’s downward spiral. Zero-Kap offers them access to financial means which they would otherwise be unable to secure.
Zero-Kap was established in 1989. The start-up capital was raised by Frans Spierings. Spierings launched the Zero-Kap fund by investing a considerable part of his personal wealth, which made him one of the earlier providers of micro credit. The name Zero-Kap refers to the zero percent interest on the loans provided by the fund (unless in local currency, see further on).
Zero-Kap merged with FEMI at the end of August 2011. At that point Zero-Kap became a named fund under the auspices of FEMI.
When providing credit, Zero-Kap concentrates on groups organised into associations, co-operations or other relationships where the decision-making is as far as possible performed jointly. At the moment of application, these groups must otherwise be denied access to any other form of financing.
A typical Zero-Kap loan is in the region of 25,000 Euro. When providing credit, Zero-Kap largely centres on the direct effect any loan will have on employment and/or living conditions.
Borrowers can choose to borrow in Euros (interest free), or in the local currency which attracts a nominal level of interest (to cover the exchange rate risk).
Zero-Kap has a small, expert project committee and a large group of professional, voluntary advisors. An application for a loan will be carefully prepared by one of the advisors. Applications are then assessed following the business plan, the expected socio-economic impact and risks in view of potential success and repayment. Once the project committee receives a positive report from an adviser, they will decide whether or not to provide a loan.
If the loan is granted, a local monitor on behalf of Zero-Kap will consult frequently with the borrowers throughout the term of the project. The Zero-Kap project consultant will also remain closely involved with the project.
To apply for a loan
You can use the application form below to apply for a loan. Your project must meet and comply with the following criteria and procedures. The Zero-Kap project committee will assess your application.
- The credit must be for the benefit of well organised groups of disadvantaged people who are to a larger extent, self-governing.
- The applicant, or an intermediate organisation, must possess a substantiated business plan which demonstrates that a significant opportunity exists, that the risks are manageable and that the socio-economic circumstances of participants will improve in a sustainable and durable manner.
- The credit must improve employment and as such increase people’s income.
- The recipient of a Zero-Kap credit has no other access to (affordable) credit.
- An assured level of certainty regarding repayment will be explicitly required.
- There must be an on-location independent monitor. Following an approved proposal, the monitor will be required to supervise the project, as well as contribute to progress reports.
- Loans are only available in countries where FEMI already operates
A Zero-Kap loan has the following features:
- The loan will be awarded in either EUR or in the local currency. If the loan is in EUR, no interest will be charged. If the loan is in a local currency, interest will be charged (to a maximum of 15%), to offset any currency risks.
- The loan will be for a maximum period of five years, excluding a possible ‘grace period’.
- The loan’s principal sum will not exceed EUR 50,000.
- Any costs involved regarding a monitor are the responsibility of the applicant.
- This is a loan, not a gift. The loan must be repaid in full.
- There must be a trusted and genuine repayment mechanism in place in the applicant’s country (therefore only applications from countries where this is an available option will be considered).