Launching In Your Community

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Information about Launching In Your Community

Published on August 5, 2009

Author: GrameenAmerica


Launching in your community.

About Grameen America Grameen America is a microfinance Like Grameen Bank, Grameen America: organization committed to alleviating poverty and creating jobs in communities >Is not a charity; instead across the country by making capital encourages self-empowerment available to micro-entrepreneurs living and entrepreneurship as a below the poverty line. means of eliminating poverty. Founded by Professor Muhammad >Believes that access to credit is Yunus, Grameen America is built upon a basic human right. the success of Grameen Bank in >Brings people out of poverty Bangladesh. The success earned both by providing access to capital Professor Yunus and the Grameen Bank at an affordable interest rate, the Nobel Pease Prize in 2006. allowing them to then start Yunus’ current mission is to bring microfinance to the United their own businesses. States, where in light of the current financial crisis, the need for basic community banking to families is paramount.

Our Borrowers Borrowers who form groups of five and Borrower businesses typically include a range of small scale complete our training and savings enterprises and home-based businesses. program will be offered a low-cost ‘Basic Hair Stylists & Baked Goods & Loan’ of approximately $2,000 to invest Salon Accessories Cooking-Related in income generating activities. 15% Sales 14% Grameen America’s ongoing lending program includes weekly business and financial management training, a path Other Services to a credit score, a savings account and 12% Beauty & Health a debit card. Products 23% Gift Baskets, Clothing, Jewelery Flowers & Home and Accessories Products 31% 5% BUSINESS BREAKDOWN By opening a branch in your community, you help provide low-cost financial services to small-scale entrepreneurs, their families, and their communities.

The Grameen America Brand Grameen has a winning business model Grameen is passionate about the great potential of social business and has a winning brand, formula, and process to help you bring the social business model to your community. The Business Model The Brand A social business is one that makes money– focusing Grameen is a Nobel Peace Prize winning organization, on operational efficiency and profits, but not for the an has access to 30 years of experience at the Grameen outsized returns to financial investors. Bank in Bangladesh and 27,000 experts in microfinance Instead, outsized returns will be reinvested into the and community bankers. business to expand the reach of the local Grameen Grameen has a network of operations in countries business operation. around the world, now including the United States. In a social business, a financial investor can get their capital back over time, but at below market returns.

How to bring Grameen to your Community Since launching in January 2008, the Queens branch has: >Reached 1000 borrowers living below the poverty line >Lent out more than $2 million >Collected over $1,000,000 in repayments >Built an outstanding loan portfolio of approximately $950,000 >Maintained exceptionally strong payments Grameen America expects similar progress in new communities With the success of our first branch in Jackson Heights, Queens we have found overwhelming demand to start up Grameen organizations in communities across America. Every community in the world wants and can benefit from a Grameen branch office to provide high-quality, low-cost financial services. However, a Grameen branch is a serious business that requires professional financial, legal, regulatory and management talent to be successful. That is why Grameen is determined to work with you through every stage of the process.

Your Commitment Your Commitment While start-up costs will vary from location to location, it will usually take $6 million over a 5 year period for a branch office to serve the community and work towards sustainability. The fastest and most efficient way of opening a Grameen branch office is for a single individual, foundation, company or entity to commit to $6 million over 5 years on mutually agreeable terms. Alternatively, sometimes the financial supports needs to be built from the bottom up through local community organizations that may be interested in sponsoring a Grameen business. Though the bottoms-up approach generally takes longer and requires more local organizing, a few key donors can provide the necessary momentum. Grameen must prioritize its efforts among many competing communities. Grameen will commit its senior management to open up operations once a financial commitment of $6 million is reached.

Grameen’s Commitment Once the initial capital is raised, Grameen America is committed to staff and manage your community’s Grameen America branch. >Management Grameen America will staff the new branch with an experienced Grameen Bank professional who will recruit local staff and assist in building the micro-lending operations. With the support and direction of Grameen Trust in Bangladesh, Grameen America executives will manage the branch’s opening and growth strategy. In each location, Grameen America intends to form a partnership with a local bank to provide financial services (such as no-fee borrowers’ savings accounts and ATM cards) >Senior Advisor A community interested in launching a Grameen America branch will be supported by a local Grameen America Senior Advisor who serves as an extension of the management team in New York. In each branch location, Grameen America will collaborate with local supporters to form a local Advisory Board. The Senior Advisor will be a key member of the Advisory Board a will facilitate initial fundraising. The Senior Advisor role could be filled by a significant donor or a connector in a particular community. Senior Advisors will be based in the local community; the role is a volunteer position Additionally, Grameen America works with local communities to: 1. Determine the optimal location for our microfinance operations. 2. Analyze local demographics with the help of our partner specializing in demographic mapping analytics (ESRI) 3. Provide your community’s key supporters with indicative projections and operations details for a new branch in your community.

Steps to Starting Grameen Operations Grameen has standardized and simplified all the steps, documents and the units as much as possible for your community to open operations as quickly as possible. 1. Secure financial commitment either through unilateral sponsorship or a grassroots, bottoms-up support 2. Forging partnerships with universities and recruiting student volunteers Graduate schools are in many communities, and students can help identify local supporters and generate publicity and other support locally Graduate students can also lead the research and feasibility study in collaboration with Grameen management and Grameen’s sample launch plans 3. Recruit a local advisory board We will work with you to identify and recruit local business and community leaders to financially support and advise the growth of Grameen America in your community 4. Grameen will prioritize your Grameen branch according to your community’s financial support Once financial support is secured, Grameen will staff an experienced microcredit banker to serve as Branch Manager and help build your local team and Grameen America operations

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