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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.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Geoff Davis - Awarded one of the 40 under 40 Rising Business Stars


Here is a nice article about Geoff Davis, the CEO of Unitus. Geoff is one of the "40 under Forty" business leaders that was chosen by the Puget Sound Business Journal, as one of the area's rising business stars, and as having the "underlying ability to lead the community".

I have observed Geoff to be passionate, inspired and very effective as the head honcho of Unitus.

Davis, 33, evolved into his current role as he tried to reconcile what he calls a "love of market dynamics" with an almost genetic understanding of the needs of people in the developing world. His grandfather was one of the first administrators in Southeast Asia for the Peace Corps.

Then there's Davis' yen for scalability. When Davis was 10 he started buying pop for 50 cents a can and selling it for $1 at construction sites. Soon he'd forged a neighborhood youth pop-selling franchise; he supplied the capital and got a percentage. At 12 he organized the neighborhood into a lawn-mowing collective.

Davis tried the corporate world following his undergraduate years, but his heart wasn't in it. "I understood my grandfather's wanting to do good in the world," he said. When he first learned about microlending -- and the reality that half the world's people have no access to affordable capital to help them start small enterprises -- he "was totally smitten with the concept of using business principles to help people."

With his own compass clear, Davis returned to school, earned a master's degree in public policy and developmental economics from Harvard Business School in 2001, and founded Unitus that same summer.

We are proud of you, Geoff. It is well deserved.

Technically, the author of the above article didn't get it exactly right. While Geoff has been an integral part and leader of Unitus, he joined Unitus about 18 months after it had been founded, rather than being one of the founders of Unitus as the article mentioned.

Here is some more background on Geoff:

For the last nine years, Geoff has worked with microfinance programs worldwide, beginning with a program he founded in central Mexico. He was an early employee at Grameen Foundation USA, a global microfinance leader, and has spoken extensively on microcredit, including lectures and speeches at the International Monetary Fund, at Harvard University and on National Public Radio. He is a board member of Pro Mujer Mexico and SKS India, and he is an advisor to the Miracle Wine Fund. Prior to his work in microfinance, Geoff served as director of international business development for a California biomedical firm and was the founder and president of a translation company. Geoff holds a B.A. in international relations from Brigham Young University and a master's degree in development economics and public policy from Harvard University.

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