Micro-finance bank helps female entrepreneurs in developing world

A micro-finance bank is lending money to women in India with an ambition to start their own business

A new micro-finance scheme is giving Indian women the chance to start their own small businesses, despite having no assets themselves.

The Blighty Banking project is a bank in rural South India that empowers individuals, who otherwise would not have a chance to compete in the business world, by lending them money.

British entrepreneur Chris Evans came up with the idea during a trip to India in 2008 whilst volunteering in a local orphanage. The experience opened his eyes to the difficulty of raising funds and distributing them effectively.

‘It had taken considerable effort to raise the £4,000 which we then spent within a few weeks,’ he explains, ‘I felt it was only a tiny difference in the grand scheme of things.’ While expressing these frustrations he discovered the book, ‘Banker to the Poor’ by Dr Mohammed Yunus, which revealed an alternative way to help.

‘Even though these women have no assets and would be deemed ‘uncreditworthy’ by traditional banks, by creating a self-funding financial instrument I realised that we would be able to help those that needed it most,’ Chris says.

A year on and Blighty Banking have helped 30 women launch their own businesses.

One of the women who has benefitted is mother-of-four Siva, who was loaned 5,000 rupees in November 2009. She purchased a sewing machine and now runs a successful stitching business. She repairs clothes for the local villagers and also makes her own clothes to sell on.

Another India woman, Rosie, was given 5,000 rupees which she used to start a roadside eaterie, which is run from her family home. She serves delicious dhosa and jdli (traditional Indian breakfast foods) and she has developed a large clientele of loyal customers.

For more information on supporting new female entrepreneurs in the developing world visit: www.blightybank.org. Chris Evans is also the founder of offshore employment agency, Outsource Pal. For more details visit www.outsourcepal.co.uk


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