Another Track in the upcoming ForSE 2008: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs
Beyond Microfinance: Opportunities for Change
Microfinance, as demonstrated by Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus, provides disadvantaged entrepreneurs with small loans to run their businesses and eventually help lift them out of poverty. This has become a wide spread phenomenon all over the world encouraging millions of families out of poverty.
What’s next? There is a huge business opportunity for both, investment in the MFIs and providing other business services to these micro-enterprises at the bottom of the pyramid.
While commercial banks are satisfying the demand for capital to the MFIs , the social entrepreneurs with social business ideas will hopefully fill the gap by providing services to the poor entrepreneurs to run and scale their businesses successfully. Prof. Yunus’ has exemplified this concept of a social business with a collaborative effort with Dannon in Bangladesh, that brings low cost nutritious meals to the poor while employing local farmers and citizens. This is a win-win situation where the commercial banks, MFIs, social businesses and the aspiring entrepreneurs all profit!
This is a great observation. We have the chance to take Dr. Yunus’ revolutionary concept that has transformed Bangladesh (and other countries) and bring it to the United States.
Grameen America opened its first branch in the United States in 2008, and is making very small loans (less than $3000) to low-income women in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York to start or supplement their own businesses. With the help of enthusiastic supporters, investors and social entrepreneurs, we can expand Grameen America throughout the US and provide ‘underbanked’ people in this country with the chance to break the cycle of poverty through micro-entrepreneurship and access to financial services and training.
I hope that you will join us in this effort. For more information, please visit http://www.grameenamerica.com.
To read the CNN article here about Grameen America’s inauguration, “Concept for World’s Poor Aids Richest Nation on Earth, ” Click on :