Unitus in Business Traveler Magazine

November 1, 2009 Posted by Media Exposure

Bland Discusses Working in India with Business Traveler

From Business TravelerIndia on the Upswing, October 2009.

“…Unitus, a Seattle-based nonprofit, provides technical and financial solutions to accelerate the growth of high-potential Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in high-need areas. In India, they have partnered with over a dozen MFIs in the last eight years.

Ed Bland, President of Unitus, says, “Since we started working in India eight years ago, we’ve seen the market for microfinance services mature very quickly, with sophisticated organizations doing highly technical work in some pockets, but also, we’ve seen places where there has been little progress in bringing life-changing microfinance, either to the rural or urban poor. The opinion we ultimately come to is that India is a wildly diverse business climate that requires a nuanced understanding of particular geographies and industries—something we addressed by staffing our office in Bangalore with 12 full-time employees.”
Reiterating the importance of having good people on the ground full-time, Bland adds, “The challenge is that India is such a complicated place, and to try to parachute in with ideas of process developed outside the country is a recipe for disaster. Our local staff do a wonderful job of identifying partner organizations that have the geographic, cultural and social know-how to best operate in some of the toughest or easily-overlooked places in the country.”

Read the full story on Business Traveler