The Microfinance Interview is a monthly question-and-answer feature through which we engage key stakeholders of the sector such as MFIs, funders, service providers, development partners and regulators amongst others on issues of topical and mutual interest. This is in recognition of the influential role of Microfinance as one of the four pillars of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) alongside financial innovation, financial literacy and financial consumer protection. In this fifth instalment, the spotlight is on VIRL Financial Services, one of the very few women-owned microfinance institutions (MFIs) operating in Zimbabwe today. On page 10 Virginia Sibanda (VS) co-founder and current CEO talks about Virl Financial Services’ business model and target market, the difficulties she has faced as a woman entrepreneur in financial services as well as the technical assistance her organisation has received and how this has impacted on operations and business goals. VS also outlines her experiences in pioneering the formalisation of the mukando/marounds concept, and how her organisation is leveraging on technology in its operations. She further outlines Virl’s position on topical issues such as the capping of interest rates and the importance of external ratings. You can also read the electronic version of the interview on Newsday by clicking here.