Most of you are familiar with the concept of microfinance.  The classic example is that a micro-bank would loan $10 or $20 to a poor woman in Ghana, who then uses it to build up a little one-person business and pull her family out of poverty.  It’s cool, it’s inexpensive, and it works.

But I was reading in this month’s Rotarian magazine about this concept working here in the US.  How mind-blowing is that?  We tend to think in terms of large banks, large loans, and crushing terms.  We see Shark Tank on TV where people talk about million-dollar deals.

Maybe your needs are more modest and straightforward.

The magazine article mentioned a couple of resources that I wanted to pass along:  Accion USA, and Grameen America.  Each of them offer small micro-loans, along with education and structure which can help people build something sustainable.

I confess that I haven’t done much research in this area, but I’ve talked with lots of people in the last few years who could make use of this kind of resource.  People who have an idea, but aren’t even able to scratch together a few hundred dollars to get started.

If you know of someone in that situation, have them check out those websites.  And don’t forget, family and friends can often be useful assets in the early stage!  Just make sure that you set it up as a business agreement, so you don’t get stung with disappointment and frustration later on.

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