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Unitus Microcredit Loans

Lessons, impressions, and thoughts that I have about the powerful poverty-fighting tool of Microcredit and how Unitus is accelerating the growth of Microfinance around the globe.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Unitus Announces Sixth Microfinance Partner, Grameen Koota, in India

Here is another recent press release, about another new Unitus partner. The role of Unitus is to accelerate microfinance growth, helping existing MFIs grow faster, reach sustainablity, and serve more poor. The way that is done is by provide additional capital (either through equity or debt) and strengthening the MFI's ability to handle the growth. This might come in the form of technical assistance, training for the staff, or assistance with the internal IS systems or processes.

Here is the article:

Wednesday July 27, 4:00 pm ET
$1.1 Million Investment Will Bring Poverty-Alleviating Microfinance Services to 500,000 Clients by 2009

REDMOND, Wash., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Unitus (www.unitus.com) today announced a $1.1 million investment in microfinance institution (MFI) Grameen Koota (GK) (www.grameenkoota.org) in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. The MFI partnership will help GK grow from serving 22,000 to 500,000 clients by 2009. Unitus will provide up to $1 million in catalytic debt and a $100,000 grant for investment in human resources development and implementation of improved management information systems.
"Grameen Koota excels at the on-the-ground work of bringing life-changing microfinance services to India's poor," said Unitus President and CEO Geoff Davis. "By helping accelerate Grameen Koota's growth, together we'll reach 500,000 clients at a rate that defies industry norms."

Unitus chose GK because of their exceptional leadership team, urban expansion plans, and demonstrated success serving Karnataka's working poor.

"Our estimates show that if they had access, almost three and a half million poor in Karnataka could leverage microfinance services to enhance their income and help feed their families, send their children to school, and obtain proper health care," said GK's Founder and CEO, Ms. Vinatha Reddy. "With Unitus's involvement, we plan to address that demand."

For more than 30 years, microfinance -- including microcredit loans as small as $50 -- has empowered millions of poor people worldwide to improve their lives by helping them expand their small businesses and increase their families' financial security. But despite these successes, MFIs still only reach an estimated 16 percent of the 500 million people who could use their services. The primary challenge for microfinance is to scale this high-potential industry to meet the enormous demand. Unitus was created to help transform this opportunity into reality.

About Unitus

Unitus is a global microfinance accelerator, acting as a social venture capital investor for the microfinance industry. Unitus identifies the highest-potential microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing countries and helps accelerate their growth through capital investments and capacity-building consulting, thus empowering them to help exponentially more poor people worldwide. In doing so, Unitus aims to demonstrate that MFIs can be run as profitable, large-scale, poverty-focused businesses with links to local capital markets. As of June 2005, Unitus has seven MFI partners worldwide serving more than 399,000 poor clients. Based in Redmond, Washington, USA, and with offices in Bangalore, India, Unitus is a nonprofit organization that relies on innovative financial instruments, and the financial resources of like-minded individuals and foundations, to fulfill its mission.

About Grameen Koota

Grameen Koota (GK) offers microfinance services to help poor women in Karnataka's rural areas and urban slums work themselves and their families out of poverty. GK works to empower women, create livelihood opportunities, reduce vulnerability of the poor, and provide credit to the unorganized sector. Since GK launched their microfinance program in 1999 they have grown to serve more than 23,500 clients as of June 2005.


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