Announcing Three New Partnerships in India

May 14, 2007 Posted by Press Release

Unitus Announces Three New Partnerships in India

Partnerships to provide life-changing microfinance services to more than 650,000 clients by 2010

Redmond, WA—May 14, 2007— Unitus, a worldwide leader in scaling innovative solutions to global poverty, today announced partnerships with three microfinance institutions in India: Adhikar, IIRM and Vardan Trust. Unitus will play a key role in accelerating the growth of each institution, so that by 2010 they will together serve more than 650,000 clients with life-changing microcredit loans and other financial services. This number represents an increase of nearly 600,000 clients, or almost 1,000 percent combined growth.

Unitus empowers the working poor to improve their own lives by rapidly expanding the supply of financial services such as microcredit loans, insurance and savings products. Unitus identifies promising microfinance partners, and provides them with consulting advice and financial support, including loans, grants and guarantees. This support helps these institutions to grow rapidly and reach even more of the world’s working poor with small loans of less than $100. Through its proven acceleration model, Unitus’s microfinance partners have been able to expand their loan outreach eight times faster than similar institutions. As of March 2007, the Unitus portfolio of partners is providing economic and social empowerment to more than 1.7 million working poor and their families in India, Kenya, Mexico, Argentina, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Here is a brief overview of Unitus’s three newest partners:

  • Adhikar began focusing on microfinance products in 2004. Since then the institution has grown dramatically—300 percent during the past year alone—to reach 45,000 clients today. In addition to offering microcredit loans throughout the eastern state of Orissa, Adhikar is a leader in addressing the huge unmet demand for remittance services amongst the poor in India. Within three years, Adhikar aims to provide more than 300,000 working poor and their families with microcredit loans and other important financial services.
  • Focusing on microfinance since 2006, the Institute of Integrated Resource Management (IIRM) offers a range of innovative products such as crop loans, income-generating loans, education loans and micro-insurance. IIRM has more than 6,000 clients and currently operates in the northeastern states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, but plans to expand to all seven states in India’s northeast as well as the Himalayan region of Sikkim. By 2010 IIRM plans to serve more than 150,000 clients.
  • Vardan Trust offers basic income-generating loans to more than 10,000 customers, including farmers, small shop owners, artisans, vegetable vendors, and those engaged in animal husbandry. Currently operating in the northeastern corner of Gujarat, Vardan Trust’s future plans include expansion throughout Gujarat and to other states in India. Vardan Trust expects to reach more than 200,000 clients with financial services by 2010.

The new partners were selected for their operational strengths, growth strategies, and visionary leadership teams. As Unitus partners, they will have access to leading expertise and tools that address three key critical microfinance growth barriers: information systems, human resource management and access to capital markets. They will also benefit from knowledge sharing among the 16 organizations that form the Unitus partner network.

“Global poverty is a problem that requires bold solutions,” said Unitus President and CEO Geoff Davis. “As an organization, we’re dedicated to closing the gap, at the poorest levels of society, between the 80 percent of those who want financial services and those who receive them. The best way to reach these individuals is by catalyzing exponential growth for the organizations that serve these working poor. Our three newest partners embrace our philosophy of rapid, high-impact growth. They’re bringing financial services to some of India’s poorest regions, and in the process proving that microfinance can make good business sense even at the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.”

About Unitus
Unitus, Inc. is a worldwide leader at scaling innovative solutions to global poverty. Unitus accelerates access to life-changing financial services for those at the bottom of the economic pyramid – the three billion people who are living on less than $2 a day. We partner with the world’s most promising microfinance institutions and provide them with breakthrough business strategies, technology and access to capital that empower them to serve thousands more hardworking micro-entrepreneurs around the world. Unitus partners are adding new loan recipients eight times faster than the industry average. Our portfolio reaches more than 1.7 million families through 16 partners in Argentina, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines. Unitus has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and on National Public Radio, and received Fast Company magazine’s Social Capitalist award in 2005 and 2006.

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