This post is a tribute to the many entrepreneurial poor women around the world who, individually or collectively, are working to create and nurture business opportunities to alleviate the challenges of poverty and improve their lives and those of their families.

One way many of them are doing that is through being able to access microfinance or microcredit.

I am passionately in favour of programs designed to provide loans and other financial services to entrepreneurial poor people, so that they can more effectively help themselves and their families.

My views on this have been influenced strongly by:

  • my being in business and wanting to see others with an entrepreneurial spirit supported in achieving their dreams
  • conversations with a good friend, the late Dr David Armstrong, a born social entrepreneur and onetime CEO of Community Aid Abroad
  • hearing and reading about a couple of amazing people, David Bussau, co-founder of Opportunity International and Mohammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank.

And from all I have heard and read it seems pretty clear that microfinance/microcredit initiatives seem to be more effective when women have responsibility for managing the application and repayment of the money.

So I was very interested to learn of the initiative of a friend, Jasmin Tragas, a Women’s Opportunity Ambassador, in support of a group of women in the Philippines, an initiative which has already drawn some impressive support and needs more. Jasmin has set herself an ambitious fund-raising goal, AU$10,000, to be used to establish a Trust Bank in the Philippines for a group of 15 to 30 women. They will be supported over a two year cycle by a Loan Officer and training (e.g. in customer service) to develop their own small businesses using microfinance.

And just when I was wondering “what exactly is a Trust Bank?” I noticed that Jasmin had created a video to help answer just that question!

Some very good news Jasmin received a few days ago is that Melbourne-based Incentive House have committed to providing up to $1,000, on a formula of $100 for every Tribute blog post appearing in support of this project. That’s only 10 posts, which should be achievable quickly. I’m hoping other companies will be inspired by Incentive House to ante up with their own support.

Incentive House are hoping to get some notice paid to their Reward Yourself business incentive card and to my way of thinking that’s good. They have been inspired to help this project, and they are also in business so they need to make sales.

Those women in the Philippines are in business too, so together we can rock this project.

Notice that you can contribute directly – every little (and big!) contribution helps – at the Chipin widget on Jasmin’s blog.

Or here, now (relax, it all goes to Jasmin’s project, none to me :))

I’m hoping to be able to interview Jasmin during the week, to see how the campaign is going and get some more information and insight about how the Trust Bank will operate, what sorts of outcomes might be expected and so on. Watch this space.

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