EntrepreneurSpotlight on Bankers without Borders Philanthropic Capitalism

Bankers without Borders: Philanthropic Capitalism

Social Entrepreneurial Organization

Our blog focused on the finance industry this month, so I thought I would find a social entrepreneur from within the same field. However, the finance industry is more about organizations than individuals, though individuals do play a large role in the success or failure of their organizations. Therefore, this month the social entrepreneur spotlight is on an organization in the business of utilizing human capital.

Finance and Microfinance

Within finance is a sector known as ‘Microfinance’. It constitutes a part of the social entrepreneurship world. ‘Microfinance’ is a term used to describe small-scale loans given to individuals from developing nations who prove capable of creating a self-sustaining enterprise.

Microfinance institutes create a platform where they provide women, farmers, and other local individuals with loans when they do not qualify for such from a traditional bank. They also offer business advice, counseling, and peer support to allow the individuals to transition their enterprises into a sustainable business model similar to that of millennial Tiago Dalvi . It is a form of philanthropic capitalism.

One such microfinance firm is “Bankers without Borders”, which was created as an offshoot of the Grameen Foundation.

Microfinance Organizations

The Grameen Foundation and Bankers without Borders [Microfinance Organizations]

Alex Count founded the Grameen Foundation in 1997, and started as the President and CEO of the organization after working in microfinance towards poverty reduction for almost ten years. As a Cornell University graduate, Count was a Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh, training under Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank (also co-recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize). He grew passionate about the work being done in Bangladesh, and created the Grameen Foundation to continue the work Yunus started.

Grameen Foundation

The Grameen Foundation provides the poor with loans that help them start a business, and they have the ability to create a network of resources for the same at a global level. As they began growing, it was soon realized that while the loans and the support could be provided, assisting the poor towards long term goals to sustain their businesses was going to be more difficult. There was no long-term plan to ensure the success of the enterprises once the loans had been provided.

Realizing

Realizing the essential need of a service within their foundation that allowed not only financial aid but management training and marketing, an off shoot of the organization was created in 2008 named, ‘Bankers without Borders’ (this has no affiliation with the Doctors without Borders’ foundation).

Bankers without Borders

Bankers without Borders

Bankers without Borders (BwB) has a unique and efficient system of operations. According to its website, the basis of the foundation is focused on partnering:

“ … with Fortune 500 companies and individuals to source some of the world’s top talent and brightest minds, and strategically connect our volunteers with high-potential social enterprises and nonprofits fighting global poverty to improve their scale, sustainability, and impact.”

Volunteers come from all types of business fields, including academics. With more than 19,700 volunteers from 170 countries, the foundation serves as a platform where top consultants train the poor to ensure the flow of knowledge.

The unique aspect of the foundation is not only that capital is donated but that there is a harnessing of intellectual capital which allows the enterprises and individuals being helped to grow the scale of their ventures, and create a more promising future for the nations and individuals in the throes of global poverty.

Impact

Impact

Today, the organization works globally with a presence in 39 countries, and has partnered with Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Limited to work in North Africa and the Middle East. The growth of digital technology allows remote consulting to be possible and volunteers continue to aid individuals and organizations to help alleviate poverty in the world.

I am a digital marketing consultant with a focus on small and mid-sized enterprises. I believe the focus of every business should be on creating a consistent brand identity online and offline.

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