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IFMR LEAD



IFMR LEAD is a non-profit research organization conducting high-quality scalable action research and outreach in development economics and finance. We are dedicated to leveraging evidence-based research to further economic and financial development of poor people living in India and other low-to-middle income countries.
Our vision is to foster improved financial access, better legal and physical infrastructure, and targeted social services for individuals, households, and enterprises, to help them attain their socio-economic aspirations.

OUR MISSION
We are driven by the belief that innovative action, paired with rigorous research generates a distinct public good that promotes human freedom and capability to lead better quality lives.
To have any bearing on social, environmental and economic change, the fruits of research must be integrated into markets, policies and practice, bridging the gap between the often disparate worlds of academic research and practitioners or policy makers.
To this effect, we have built strong partnerships within the public and private sectors with a shared commitment to promote evidence-driven development. These partnerships help ensure that research results are effectively disseminated, and that the demand for new, relevant and practical knowledge is being satisfied.

The centres contributing to this blog include:


  • Centre for Development Finance – The Centre for Development Finance (CDF) was established in 2006 and focuses on improving the delivery of public goods that contribute to inclusive social and economic opportunity in India. Specifically CDF seeks to find sustainable ways improve public and private sector investment in public infrastructure.
  • Centre for Microfinance - The Centre for Microfinance (CMF) was established in 2005 and aims to improve the accessibility and quality of financial services for the poor through rigorous research, knowledge dissemination and evidence-based policy outreach.
  • Small Enterprise Finance Centre – The Small Enterprise Finance Centre (SEFC) was established in 2006 to advance the research and practice of SME financing and growth in India. The SEFC team seeks to study how financial markets and private market forces can foster the growth of SMEs and the role that SMEs play in the alleviation of poverty.














The Centre for Microfinance (CMF) was established in 2005 with an aim to improve the accessibility and quality of financial services for the poor through rigorous research, knowledge dissemination and evidence-based policy outreach. We conduct research in the areas related to credit, savings, insurance and pensions, livelihoods, and policy and regulation.
With over 50 research studies that are completed or are currently being implemented in different regions of India, CMF has substantial experience in designing and implementing randomized impact evaluations, a rigorous research method that produces the most accurate and unbiased results. CMF also specializes in cohort and panel studies, and short-term policy studies.
CMF partners with leading economists, development specialists and influential practitioners to ideate and conduct research in areas that impact the financial lives of the poor. CMF also has a dedicated team for outreach and policy dissemination. The team specializes in reaching out to policymakers to aid informed policymaking.
To know more about CMF’s work, please visit
 http://www.ifmrlead.org//cmf/



The Small Enterprise Finance Centre was established in 2006 with the mission to advance the research and practice of SME financing and entrepreneurship growth in India and South Asia. The SEFC team seeks to study how financial markets and private market forces can foster the growth of SMEs and the role that SMEs play in the alleviation of poverty.
We conduct projects that develop insights and products to improve SMEs’ access to financial services, and to resolve existing blockages in the financial system such as labour turnover, market inefficiency, and poor infrastructures. The lack of growth of SMEs in India is seen as a serious hindrance to job creation, social mobility and poverty elimination. Lack of access to efficient and adequately structured financial services has been identified as one of the primary impediments to the growth of SMEs. Other constraints to firm growth include regulatory and legal constraints, limited access to well-trained employees as well as lack of infrastructure.
After formulating the problems commonly faced by SMEs, we ideate innovations, practices and products for SMEs. We partner with academics from leading universities, public and private sector organizations and financial institutions. We test the ideas through on-the-ground implementations such as randomized impact evaluation, audit studies, and large-scale econometric analysis. Finally, we disseminate our findings to relevant policymakers and practitioners.
SEFC aims to serve the SME sector by studying best practices and designing robust mechanisms that ameliorate or circumvent obstacles to firm growth within this critical sector of the economy.
To know more about SEFC’s work, please visit http://www.ifmrlead.org//sefc











The Centre for Development Finance (CDF) is an action research think-tank focused on improving the capacity of government systems and markets to channel finance into sustainable, holistic development. CDF conducts research in two focus areas – Environment & Climate Change and Infrastructure & Governance. At CDF, we believe that development is a multidimensional process that can create economic security, long-lasting environmental quality, access to opportunity, and most importantly, inclusive government and market systems. We support the creation of a social, political, and economic environment where all citizens have the confidence and the tools to shape fulfilling individual and collective futures.
We follow an active approach to public policy research by accessing deep knowledge of local context through experience, paying close attention to formal and informal local media, and interacting with a broad network of NGOs, community organizations, government officials, and other stakeholders. We create, visualize, and disseminate data using interactive online maps – to communicate and “activate” data. We share our tangible data and knowledge with the development community, civil society, governments, policymakers, and corporations so that they can generate insights that accelerate development.
Our goal is to create a harmonious relationship between markets and development by advocating policies that address market failures; helping people actively interact with markets; and driving social-entrepreneurship that respects the poorest segments of society as both clients and consumers.
The CDF team consists of development practitioners as well as researchers with substantial operational and field experience. This ensures that our data, insight and advice are an ideal blend of sound theoretical knowledge and real-world pragmatism.
To know more about CDF’s work, please visit http://www.ifmrlead.org//cdf

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