Our approach to lending
We encourage and support individuals to improve their lives by starting or growing their own businesses. We believe that running your own business builds an individual’s self-esteem and at the same time fosters their own economic and personal development and that of their family and their community.
Many of our potential clients will never have met the credit criteria of the UK’s mainstream lenders. All our credit offered will be carefully considered and provided for the sole purpose of running a small business to generate income and build a longer term stable economic future for the client and their family.
Here’s how it works
- Build a support group
- An individual – with either an existing business or future business idea for income generation – selects four other people they trust to form a group.
- Provide training
- The group meets one of Grameen in the UK’s Community Development Officers, who are fully trained and understand the entrepreneurial aspirations of those in the most economically challenged communities.Once accepted for support they all attend an initial training programme focused on the individual requirements established and agreed in conjunction with the Community Development Officer – potential content to include full background to conditions of joining Grameen in the UK, operating a bank account, financial budgeting, establishing a business, and the impact of running a business on any DWP benefits. This service is part of the initial support provided and is free of any charge to the client.
- Encourage saving
- All borrowers are encouraged to open a savings account to which they can contribute to regularly, thus building future financial security for themselves and their family.
- Provide a low cost loan
- Upon successful attendance and completion of training, each borrower may qualify for a small business loan that allows them to convert their skills into an income generating business. The initial loan will be up to £1,000 with further loans of up to £5000 available after evidence of satisfactory attendance at meetings and repayment of this initial facility.
- Provide ongoing support and mentoring
- Regular support is provided by the allocated Grameen Community Development Officer to the group. Borrowers meet weekly to make loan payments and to receive any further required guidance. Meetings are held within the community at a mutually agreed convenient location and time.
- The impact
- Grameen loans help build confidence and self-discipline through peer support and a social contract that empowers individuals.The Grameen structure requires borrowers to consider more than finance. As part of the ‘social contract’ we will encourage continuation of childrens education, health of the families and regular savings.The programme creates a cycle where the borrowers will hopefully never fall back into poverty or welfare reliance – we help create choice.Providing small loans for income generating activities, encouraging saving, cultivating business skills and financial awareness, fostering a structured day /week, enhancing life skills – often for the first time – builds hope through positive actions of individuals and their communities.