Grameen America, the leading nonprofit microfinance organization providing business capital to low-income minority women in the United States, on May 13 announced plans to accelerate its commitment to racial equity through to its new initiative “ Elevating Black Women Entrepreneurs ”. The dedicated program, which will provide equity loans, financial training, asset creation tools and credit to black female entrepreneurs, aims to grow to $ 1.3 billion in loans to more than 80,000 black female entrepreneurs. ‘by 2030.
Grameen America helps increase financial mobility for women through its proven approach of engaging and lending directly to women entrepreneurs. The organization, which has invested more than $ 1.9 billion in more than 136,000 low-income women entrepreneurs since its opening in January 2008, is able to reach more than half a million women by 2030. Grameen America’s registered capital model, with 24 branches in 17 US cities, is unmatched in terms of national reach, financial viability and unmediated relationships with its members, according to a press release.
Grameen America estimates that due to a lack of access to affordable credit and capital, there are at least 1.4 million independent black women who could benefit from the organization’s capital and resources to strengthen their financial independence. Research indicates that black female entrepreneurs suffer from a systematic lack of access to affordable credit and capital, a long-standing problem that Grameen America intends to address through its new initiative.
With catalytic financial support from The Studio @ Blue Meridian, Grameen America will launch an innovative network of new branches over the next three years to provide black female entrepreneurs with loan capital and financial training, aimed at demonstrating the impact of l Improved members’ business income, credit scores, personal savings and hardship measures. Grameen America will launch the new network from Memphis, Tennessee in 2021, with further expansion to follow in communities where minority women entrepreneurs remain underserved. In addition, current operations in Harlem, New York and Newark, NJ will also launch the initiative, expanding into wider New York and into greater Newark areas, developing and implementing new programmatic solutions to reach women. black entrepreneurs nationwide. As the program grows, Grameen America’s goal is to directly lend $ 1.3 billion to more than 80,000 black entrepreneurs by 2030 through reinvestment and redeployment of capital.
“The launch of the Elevating Black Women Entrepreneurs initiative reflects our shared commitment to ensuring racial and financial fairness for black women entrepreneurs across 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 our infrastructure built over 13 years, we hope to significantly address the systemic inequalities faced by black businesswomen, which will play a role. transformative role by improving the pool of emerging entrepreneurs in our country. “
Grameen America’s Elevating Black Women Entrepreneurs division will be led by Alethia Mendez. Mendez joined Grameen America in 2008 as one of the organization’s first employees, as the inaugural center manager of the Grameen America branch in Jackson Heights. Since then, she has held several leadership roles at Grameen America and is a member of the senior management team.
“Elevating Black Women Entrepreneurs is a solution to the formal banking system that can support racial inequality by systematically denying black women the same access and opportunity as other entrepreneurs in the United States,” said Alethia Mendez, president of the Elevating Black Women Entrepreneurs division at Grameen. America. “Our team is ready to support the ingenuity and courage of black women entrepreneurs across the country to grow their businesses and energize their communities.”
“This initiative must not wait. It is imperative that we help shape the future of black women entrepreneurs in the United States,” said Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize winner, co-chair of Grameen America and founder of Grameen Bank. “I have no doubt that we will create a successful microfinance program that will give black Americans the same opportunity to live without poverty as we have done with Grameen borrowers all over the world.”