Microfinance USA Conference Blog

Weekly Microfinance News & Announcements 4/27/2012

Posted: 2012-04-27 @ 2:16 PM EDT

Give small businesses access to the capital they need

By Rep. Sam Graves, FoxNews.com, Having grown up on a family farm, I am all too familiar with the effects a drought can have on a crop. Today’s small business owners are facing a drought of a different type – a dearth of capital.

First Fund to help Smallholder farmers with Long-Term Loans

By Microfinance Focus, Incofin Investment Management, Fairtrade International (FLO) and Grameen Foundation will establish a ‘First Fund’ to focus on the unmet demand of smallholder farmers for long-term loans.  Starbucks Coffee Company will also join as the fund’s first anchor private investor with a commitment of $ 1.3 Mn. The fund will offer investors both financial and demonstrable social results.

Environment Improving for Small Business?

By Small Business News, Is the environment improving for small businesses? Some say it is. Here are some ideas about how to make the most of current trends and about where we, as small business owners, may be headed. Is your business showing signs of improvement?

Small Business Survey Finds Merchants Feel They Have No Choice But To Turn Away From Traditional Lenders

By PRWeb, A new survey of small business merchants who turned to cash advances for financing found that many small businesses either didn’t think they’d be able to qualify for financing from traditional lenders or had already been declined.

Claims about the small-business tax cut (Part 1)

By Josh Hicks, The Washington Post, The Small Business Tax Cut Act would provide a 20-percent tax deduction for companies with fewer than 500 employees. The House passed the measure by a vote of 235-173, and it’s up to the Democrat-controlled Senate now to decide whether the legislation should go to the president’s desk.

Business Loans and Hand-Holding, Beer Optional

By Nick Leiber, Business Week, When Jim Koch launched the Boston Beer Co. (SAM) in 1984, he learned that ventures like his shouldn’t waste time trying to get a bank loan. “What one of the bankers said to me was, ‘We’re not in the business of taking risks. We don’t get paid to take risks. Look at our margins.”

Health care, taxes top issues for small business

By Joyce M. Rosenberg, boston.com, As president of the National Federation of Independent Business, the biggest advocacy group representing small business owners in the U.S., Danner helped oversee the organization’s attempt to overturn the health care overhaul. Last month, the NFIB’s lawyers were among those arguing against the law before the Supreme Court.

Weekly Microfinance News & Announcements 4/21/2012

Posted: 2012-04-21 @ 8:49 AM EDT

Small Loans, Big Dreams

By Kent Bernhard, Jr. Portfolio.com, Think all the upstart entrepreneurs come out of elite schools with big tech ideas and a pipeline of cash from venture capitalists? Think again.
Stop conflating microfinance and entrepreneurship

By Elmira Bayrasli, Reuters, Although the phone rings incessantly, Carlos Moreno is not distracted. He continues to talk, not just about his life as a slightly graying 78-year-old pastor but also about how he became what some consider to be the world’s first microfinance recipient. It wasn’t as an entrepreneur.

Do Small Businesses Create Jobs?

By Bruce Bartlett, New York Times blog, Just recently, it approved the JOBS Act, which is intended to ease access to credit by “emerging growth” companies. Congressional Republicans are anxious to enact a new tax cut for small businesses, as well.

Who Works At Startups, Anyway? #Infographic | StartupWeekend

By Kauffman Foundation Startup Weekend Blog, An awesome infographic breaking down all you crazy peeps that take the startup plunge. Do you see these numbers represented in your startup workplace?

Newtek Business Services, The Small Business Authority, Exceeds Milestone of Over A Half A Billion Dollars of Loans To Small Businesses

By WSJ MarketWatch Press Release, The Small Business Authority, today announced that its primary lending subsidiary, Newtek Small Business Finance, has provided or committed to funding over $500,000,000 to over eight hundred U.S. small based businesses since acquiring and reorganizing the company.

Weekly Microfinance News & Announcements 4/13/2012

Posted: 2012-04-13 @ 5:46 PM EDT

Forget microcredit: microsavings work much better

By Oxfam Blog, Microcredit has been getting a bad press recently – criticised for eye-watering interest rates, high indebtedness levels, and excessive hype in terms of its development impact. Oxfam America reckons it has a much better alternative – helping poor people to save first and then borrow. Last week, I interviewedJeff Ashe (right), who runs Oxfam America’s renownedSavings for Change initiative. Here are some key points.

Heroic vs. Homegrown Entrepreneurs?

By Tanyella Adams, Huffington Post, When we think of “social entrepreneurship”, we tend to focus on the really big organizations that have had a huge impact, groups like Teach for America or Grameenthat are dealing with national or global issues of poverty, inequality and justice.

[Video] Starbucks CEO talks US economy, job creation

By CNBC Video, tsinews.com, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks to the “CBS This Morning” co-hosts about his new fund aimed at creating jobs in the U.S., and why he thinks he can help fix the economy.

John Mack Joins Board of Alternative Lending Company

By David Benoit, Wall Street Journal, John Mack is not riding into the retirement sunset. He is instead diving into alternative banking startups. The former chairman and chief executive of Morgan Stanley has yet another new gig: Lending Club, a lender that matches investors directly with borrowers through its website.

Weekly Microfinance News & Announcements 4/6/2012

Posted: 2012-04-06 @ 5:31 PM EDT

Starbucks ‘Google Offers’ Deal: Half Price Gift Cards Will Benefit ‘Create Jobs For USA’ Fund

By Huffington Post Money Google Offers will sell $10 Starbucks gift cards for the price of $5 on Wednesday in a deal available only to those who have subscribed to Google’s Groupon-like deals site that went live in Portland last April and has since expanded to more than 40 cities.

Jobs Act: A great start, but more is needed

By Duncan L. Niederauer, CNN Money New legislation giving small businesses access to capital will help, but it won’t solve the jobs crisis. America’s corporate leaders need to join together to fuel the growth of entrepreneurial innovation.

Financial Literacy Survey Exposes Significant Gaps in Grasp of Personal Finance Skills

By PR Web In recognition of Financial Literacy Month, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) today released the results of the 2012 Financial Literacy Survey. In its sixth year, the survey annually provides data and trending around Americans’ attitudes and behaviors related to personal finance.

Government rules out role for Yunus in Grameen Bank chief’s selection

By Mizan Rahman, Gulf Times The government yesterday ruled out the possibility of selecting Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus as the head of a search committee to select the new managing director for Grameen Bank he had founded.

The ripple effect: Supporting a local business lender supports your local economy

By Dennis Hunter, The Times-Standard In a community, money that is invested within creates a ripple effect that can be passed on and multiplied outward to broaden its impact on the community as a whole. In business, you need to understand how the ripple effect can affect your business and how the actions you take affect the businesses and people connected to your company.

Funding Circle, a Kickstarter for SMBs, Picks Up $16M From Index, Union Square Ventures

By Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch Some great news for small business owners, and perhaps a sign of more crowdsourced funding coming to the U.S.: the UK-based Funding Circle— a kind of Kickstarter for lending to smaller enterprises — has just announced that it has raised a $16 million round to further build up its business of enabling non-bank lending to small enterprises.

The San Diego Microfinance Summit is coming up. Don’t forget to register!

Posted: 2012-03-26 @ 4:02 PM EDT

Are you interested in how the development of innovative strategies and new technologies are changing the face of microfinance?

Join ACCION San Diego and other local microfinance organizations for the 4th annual San Diego Microfinance Summit hosted at the University of San Diego.

Highlights of this year’s event include

  • Pre-summit networking mixer at The Ritual Tavern, a local microfinance client (optional)
  • Breakfast provided by clients
  • Catered lunch provided by local restaurateurs who are microfinance clients
  • Artisan marketplace wherein microfinance clients will showcase their wares and services
  • Three afternoon breakout topics offered during two sessions
  • Closing reception featuring giveaways from client businesses

Make sure to check out the video footage from last year!

Register now!

Where: Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, University of San Diego, 5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA  92110

When: Wednesday, April 4th from 8:15am to 4:30pm

Price: The student, faculty and staff price is $20.00, the general admission price: $35.00.

Weekly Microfinance News & Announcements 3/24/2012

Posted: 2012-03-24 @ 3:42 PM EDT

Supporting Entrepreneurship in the Developing World: Microfinance in the US

By Anneliese Guess, Bertelsmann Stiftung Future Challenges In recent years microfinance organizations have become a popular way for US Americans to support entrepreneurship and small businesses in the developing world…

Not Yet Time to Declare Victory over MDG 1

By Microcredit Summit Campaign Blog The February 29 Reuters article appearing in the Huffington Post World, “UN Reducing Extreme Poverty Goal Met, World Bank Says”, announces a seemingly landmark victory in the struggle to reduce extreme poverty globally…

Incentives for Social Targets at Microfinance Investment Funds

By Julie Shea, Center for Financial Inclusion Blog Large scale commercialization of microfinance institutions (MFIs) has led to an increased focus on profitability and with that a growing fear of “mission drift.” In an industry facing increased demands for both social and financial performance…

The NYSE Big StartUp(SM), a Nationwide Jobs Growth Initiative, Connects Startups and Entrepreneurs with Corporate America to Accelerate New Business, Funding and Success

PRESS RELEASE, Wall Street Journal NEW YORK, Mar 21, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The NYSE Big StartUp(SM), a nationwide jobs-growth initiative designed to connect young companies and entrepreneurs with corporate America, was launched today by NYSE Euronext (NYX) in collaboration with Accion, Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and The Startup America Partnership…

NYSE, biz groups create startup mentoring program

By Bloomberg Business Week The New York Stock Exchange and three groups that work to help startups are launching a program designed to help smaller companies create jobs…

Citizens Republic Expands Services for Underbanked Consumers

By American Banker Like U.S. Bancorp, Regions Financial Inc., BB&T Corp. and others, Citizens Republic has introduced a prepaid card and is expanding its line of alternative financial products used by underbanked consumers…

Weekly Microfinance News & Announcements 3/9/2012

Posted: 2012-03-09 @ 6:00 AM EST

Delays Shave $2 Billion From Loan Program That Would Benefit Small Business

by Catherine Clifford, Entrepreneur The delays in getting the CDFI program off the ground come on the heels of another Treasury-administered program, the $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund, which was widely considered a failure. Once touted by the Obama Administration as a way to …

Too Small to Bail?

by Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect The good news is they’re making more small-business loans; the bad news I’m hearing from smaller banks is that the big banks are in there cannibalizing their best customers. Given all the money that was poured into the big banks via the Troubled Asset …

Bad Girl Entrepreneur Candace Klein Launches SoMoLend

by MarketWatch (press release) SoMo’s software is designed to use the Web to match borrowers with lenders, connecting business borrowers seeking loans of $35000 or less with investors looking to make a return on investment. It is designed to serves mall businesses that don’t have …

The Rise and Decline of Indian Microcredit | David Roodman’s Microfinance Open Book Blog

by David Roodman (blog) Here are two graphs of data from the Mix Market showing the rise and decline of microcredit in Indiaor at least in Andhra Pradesh It is SKS that exhibits …

CEOs Say Change Volcker Rule, Other Pending Fed Regulations

by Eric Morath, Wall Street Journal (blog) A group of chief executives on Wednesday called for major changes in Washington, including modifying parts of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill and balancing the federal budget. Such action will spark job creation and economic …

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen America to Open Additional Branches in California Michigan and Nebraska

by Brendan Millan, MicroCapital Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, has reportedly announced that Grameen America, a nonprofit microfinance institution (MFI) based in the US state of New York City, will open additional branches in California, Michigan and Nebraska …

The 2012 San Diego Microfinance Summit, Register Today!

Posted: 2012-03-07 @ 4:17 PM EST

Early Bird Pricing Ends March 21st!

Are you interested in how the development of innovative strategies and new technologies are changing the face of microfinance? Join ACCION San Diego and other local microfinance organizations for the 4th annual San Diego Microfinance Summit hosted at the University of San Diego.

Register Now

Highlights of this year’s event include:

  • Pre-summit networking mixer at the Ritual Tavern, a local microfinance client (optional)
  • Breakfast provided by clients
  • Catered lunch provided by local restauranteurs who are microfinance clients
  • Artisan marketplace wherein microfinance clients will showcase their wares and services
  • Three afternoon breakout topic offered during two sessions
  • Closing reception featuring giveaways from client businesses

Make sure to check out the video footage from last year

Where: Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, University of San Diego, 5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA  92110

When: Wednesday, April 4th from 8:15am to 4:30pm

Price: Early bird pricing ends March 21st!

Early bird student, faculty and staff price: $12.00

Early bird general admission price: $25.00

Student, faculty and staff price after March 21st: $20.00

General admission price after March 21st: $35.00

Weekly Microfinance News & Announcements 3/2/2012

Posted: 2012-03-02 @ 8:51 AM EST

Startup Fundraising Platform ProFounder Shuts Its Doors

By Leena Rao, TechCrunch ProFounder, which is the brainchild of Kiva co-founder Jessica Jackley and fellow Stanford Business School alum Dana Mauriello, allowed entrepreneurs to share a percentage of their revenues with investors (their friends, family, and community) over …

Smart Power

By Maria Otero, CGAP Smart Power is about addressing the basic necessities of people’s lives, understanding their challenges and empowering them to help themselves—much like we have been doing for decades through microfinance. This concept of Smart …

Create Jobs for USA: A Progress Report

By Joe Nocera, The New York Times This morning we received a Create Jobs for USA progress report. To date, we have raised more than $7 million in donations, thereby directly supporting $50 million in new financing for community businesses across America…

A Conversation With: Muhammad Yunus

By Neha Thirani, New York Times (blog) Muhammad Yunus, the economist who founded Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank, visited Mumbai recently where he spoke to India Ink about his vision of “social businesses,” his forced departure from Grameen and the recent controversies that have dogged micro-finance in India and elsewhere.

Banking the Unbankable Requires a Targeted Effort

By Bryan Yurcan, Banktech To tap the growing number of unbanked and underbanked consumers worldwide, banks need to be more aggressive in offering services and products specifically designed for the market. By Bryan Yurcan The unbanked and underbanked are a growing and …

Whole Foods To Help Empower Low-Income Entrepreneurs

By Huffington Post Entrepreneurs in developing countries get between $30 and $300 and Grameen America offers loans between $500 and $3000 for recipients in the U.S. …

Weekly Microfinance News & Announcements 2/24/2012

Posted: 2012-02-24 @ 5:00 AM EST

Starbucks Says 3-Month Old Loan Fund Is Already Creating Jobs

By Alan Kline, American Banker Schultz said in the letter that Starbucks expects to introduce more corporate partners over the next couple months as it aims to grow the fund to a point where it will have made loans in all 50 states by the end of this year. He also asked for Geithner’s help in identifying more partners so that more CDFIs could participate in the program.

The Nonprofit Lookbook: Lessons in Social Enterprise from the Fashion World

By Saras Chung, The Nonprofit Quarterly In 2006, Mohammud Yunus had just won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Grameen Bank, inspiring hundreds of social entrepreneurs across the country to test out the theory of microlending in areas of poverty and severe need.

A Conversation With: Muhammad Yunus

By Neha Thirani, New York Times (blog) Muhammad Yunus, the economist who founded Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank, visited Mumbai recently where he spoke to India Ink about his vision of “social businesses,” his forced departure from Grameen and the recent controversies that have dogged micro-finance in India and elsewhere.

Why Commercial Loans Remain Tough to Get

By Myles Dannhausen Jr. Truthout According to Multifunding, which ranks banks based on their ratio of small business loan balances (loans to small businesses with balances of $1 million or …

Startup Fundraising Platform ProFounder Shuts Its Doors

By Leena Rao, TechCrunch ProFounder, which is the brainchild of Kiva co-founder Jessica Jackley and fellow Stanford Business School alum Dana Mauriello, allowed entrepreneurs to share a percentage of their revenues with investors (their friends, family, and community) over …

Smart Power

By Maria Otero, CGAP Smart Power is about addressing the basic necessities of people’s lives, understanding their challenges and empowering them to help themselves—much like we have been doing for decades through microfinance. This concept of Smart …

Congress Addresses Financial Inclusion and Client Protection Principles

By Holly Padgett, Center for Financial Inclusion In December 2011, a bill was introduced in the United States Senate that would advance concepts of financial inclusion in USAID’s (United States Agency for International Development) approach to microfinance and international development …

Starbucks CEO: Washington fails on job creation

By Ashley Killough CNN His company is now spearheading its own employment program, raising funds for a campaign called “Create Jobs for USA” that distributes loans to small …

Should we have a FDA for financial products?

By Suzy Khimm, Washington Post (blog) Eric Posner and Glen Weyl don’t think that Dodd-Frank goes far enough to curb risky financial products, so they’d like a federal agency to vet them first: ( AFP/GETTY IMAGES ) The financial crisis of 2008 was caused in part by speculative investment in …