Unitus Reaches 1 Million of the World’s Working Poor
Innovative approach brings life-changing loans and opportunity to 1 million micro-entrepreneurs
Redmond, WA—December 6, 2006—Unitus, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to reducing global poverty by increasing access to microfinance, today announced that its worldwide portfolio of microfinance partners is now reaching more than 1 million small entrepreneurs with empowering loans. These loans of as little as $100 enable the working poor to start small businesses and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
Based in Redmond, Washington, with an office in Bangalore, India, Unitus has developed a portfolio of 11 microfinance institutions located in India, Kenya, Mexico, Argentina and the Philippines. Using a combination of capital assistance and technical support, Unitus has helped its microfinance partners to grow eight times faster than their peers and enabled them to collectively serve an additional 800,000 clients.
Said Unitus President and CEO Geoff Davis: “1 million families now have access to life-changing loans that give them the chance to work their way out of poverty. By reaching 1 million clients in less than five years, we’ve built the fastest-growing and third-largest microfinance portfolio in the industry. This growth is possible because of our dedicated donors who know the true power of microfinance, and the amazing entrepreneurs leading our partner organizations. We feel this milestone shows that rapid, sustainable expansion of the microfinance industry is possible. Based on our experience, we’ve now set a goal of reaching a $1.5 billion portfolio by 2015.”
Bandhan, a microfinance institution in West Bengal, India, is one of Unitus’s fastest growing partners and exemplifies the effectiveness of the Unitus model. Serving just over 50,000 clients when it formed a partnership with Unitus in April 2005, Bandhan now reaches more than 369, 000 micro-entrepreneurs in one of India’s poorest regions – an increase of more than 600 percent. “Our partnership with Unitus has been a critical part of our growth strategy,” said Bandhan CEO and Founder C.S. Ghosh. “Unitus’s financial and capacity-building assistance has allowed us to hire critical staff, improve our technology infrastructure and strengthen our relationships with banks. We are proud to be a Unitus partner.”
Unitus is a nonprofit organization creating innovative solutions to global poverty using a venture capital model. Based in Redmond, Washington, with an office in Bangalore, India, Unitus dramatically accelerates the growth of its microfinance partners by supplying technical and financial resources that enable them to transform into profitable, large-scale, poverty-focused businesses with links to formal capital markets. Unitus currently has 11 partners in its worldwide portfolio that provide life-changing financial services for more than 1 million of the world’s working poor. For more information about Unitus, please visit: www.unitus.com.