The Financial Express

Grameen America announces plan to invest $1.3b in loans to poor black women entrepreneurs

| Updated: May 16, 2021 18:13:43

Grameen America to invest $1.3b in loans to poor black women entrepreneurs

Grameen America, the leading microfinance nonprofit organisation providing business capital to low-income minority women in the United States, has announced its plan to accelerate its commitment to racial equity through its new Elevating Black Women Entrepreneurs initiative.

The dedicated programme aims to expand to $1.3 billion in loans to more than 80,000 Black women entrepreneurs by 2030, the American nonprofit entity said in a press release forwarded on Sunday by the Yunus Centre in Dhaka.

The organisation, which has invested over $1.9 billion in more than 136,000 low-income women entrepreneurs since opening in January 2008, is positioned to reach more than half a million women by 2030, according to the release.

Grameen America estimates that, due to a lack of access to affordable credit and capital, there are at least 1.4 million self-employed Black women who could benefit from the organisation's capital and resources to enhance their financial independence, the release noted.

Research indicates that Black women entrepreneurs suffer from a systematic lack of access to affordable credit and capital, a longstanding problem Grameen America intends to address through its new initiative, the Grameen America release added.

"The launch of the Elevating Black Women Entrepreneurs initiative reflects our shared commitment to ensuring racial and financial equity for Black entrepreneurial women throughout the United States," said Andrea Jung, president and CEO of Grameen America.

"Through this new program, which will leverage our unique group lending model and infrastructure built over 13 years, we hope to meaningfully address systemic inequities faced by Black businesswomen, which will play a transformative role in enhancing the pipeline of emerging entrepreneurs in our country."

Alethia Mendez, president for Elevating Black Women Entrepreneurs, at Grameen America , said, "Elevating Black Women Entrepreneurs is a solution to the formal banking system which can uphold racial inequality by systemically denying Black women the same access and opportunity as other entrepreneurs in the United States."

Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate, Co-Chair of Grameen America and Grameen Bank Founder, said, "This initiative must not wait. It is imperative that we help shape the future for Black women entrepreneurs in the United States."

"I have no doubt we will create a successful microfinance program that gives the same opportunity to Black Americans to live free of poverty, as we have with Grameen borrowers all over the world," he added.

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