To cap off our Blog Series this week I decided to interview a local Microfinance organization started by some of our own Spartans. The Spartan Global Development Fund was started officially on July 4, 2009, when they made their first four microfinance loans.
The organization has a mission statement that says, “We are a group of Michigan State University Students who share a passion for both spreading awareness of the success of the microcredit lending model as well as directly raising funds to lend to hard working entrepreneurs around the world. We believe our loans represent the compassion, respect, and opportunity deserved by the entrepreneurs working hard to improve their families’ lives.”
While interviewing one of the co-founders Chaz Bauer, I was able to see how helpful a small organization of microfinance lending can be. The group has a portfolio that has been contributed to through fundraising along with donations from family, friends, and corporate sponsors. With this money the group has been able to donate money towards 253 microfinance loans to date and that number is only going to keep growing. They donate through KIVA which is a microfinance middleman that takes the money from lenders and actually disperses it throughout the world. The group has been able to donate their funds towards education, agriculture, and retail in countries like Cambodia, Uganda, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador and many others. The money is also being dispersed to about 80% female entrepreneurs which is a great sign. The payback from the loans is upwards of 95% so the group can sustain their lending.
One personal story from the group was when one of their members, Fernando Vasquez, was able to see how microfinance can help firsthand when he visited two of the entrepreneurs in El Salvador that the organization had helped. He was most interested to see how successful many of their companies were with the money they were able to grow their business with.
Overall microfinance is a great tool to help those that do not have the tools or resources to start up their companies. We are fortunate enough to have some of our very own students recognize the need and benefits that microfinance lending can possess. To find out more about the Spartan Global Development fund visit their web page now!