NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Grameen America, a nonprofit microfinance organization offering microloans, training and support to help women in poverty build small businesses, today announced the launch of the first U.S. Training Institute for microfinance with the support of longstanding partner Capital One. The new Institute, located in Queens, NY, will help provide thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs in low-income communities access to microloans. Through classroom-style learning and apprentice-based training programs, community loan officers will be equipped to empower women entrepreneurs with the financial tools they need to grow their small businesses and create better lives for their families.
A ribbon cutting ceremony on June 17 in Long Island City will mark the opening of the Institute, which will serve as the base for training Grameen America’s field staff of microfinance loan officers. The ultimate goal of the Institute is to become a leading learning center for microfinance in the U.S. The Institute’s teachings are based on Grameen Founder and Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus’s unique group-lending model, which started in Bangladesh and has been operating successfully in the U.S. for more than six years.
“This Training Institute is a critical step in breaking down economic barriers for women and their families,” explained Andrea Jung, President and CEO of Grameen America, who sees the Institute as an opportunity to expand the organization’s services across the U.S. “Scale is the hinge for making a material difference in underserved communities across the country. We will equip community loan officers with the skills to employ sustainable microfinance to empower their neighbors to create better lives for themselves.” As of March 31, 2013, Grameen America has provided over $145 million in microloans to more than 28,000 low-income women in the U.S. to help them build small businesses.
Capital One Bank today announced it is providing $350,000 to help support Grameen America’s expansion across the U.S., including continued support for the Training Institute to help build capacity and fuel growth. In addition to supporting the Training Institute, a portion of the grant will help Grameen invest in technology to scale and grow operations across the country and reach more low-income women. The bank also announced it is providing Grameen America an additional $500,000 in low-interest loans to help grow its lending capital; this builds on the previous $1 million from Capital One to a total $1.5 million in low-cost funding to Grameen America’s loan fund. This support expands on Capital One’s deep relationship with Grameen America, having helped 5,000 Grameen America members establish and build savings accounts at Capital One branches in Brooklyn, N.Y., Union City, N.J., and Austin, Tex.
“Ensuring entrepreneurs and small businesses have access to affordable financing is vitally important to job growth and economic vitality in our communities,” said Keri Gohman, Executive Vice President and Head of Small Business Banking at Capital One Bank. “At Capital One, we’re committed to empowering small business owners, and we’re proud to partner with Grameen America to provide the capital necessary for those in need to pursue their dreams – plus training, mentoring and other programs to help make their business aspirations a reality.”
According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, small businesses create two out of three net new jobs in the U.S. and often employ the most vulnerable groups in the workforce. The data further shows that if just one in three small businesses could hire just one more person, the U.S. would be at full employment.
About Grameen America:
Founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, Grameen America is dedicated to helping women who live in poverty build small businesses to create better lives for their families. We offer microloans, training and support to transform communities, create jobs and fight poverty in the United States. Since opening in January 2008, Grameen America, has disbursed over $145 million in microloans to more than 28,000 women. Started in Jackson Heights, Queens, Grameen America has since expanded across New York City and to Indianapolis (IN), Omaha (NE), San Francisco Bay Area (CA), Charlotte (NC), Los Angeles (CA), Boston (MA), Austin (TX), Union City (NJ), San Jose (CA) and San Juan (PR).
About Capital One:
Capital One Financial Corporation, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, is a Fortune 500 company with more than 900 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Its subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. We apply the same principles of innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. We recognize that helping to build strong and healthy communities – good places to work, good places to do business and good places to raise families – benefits us all and we are proud to support this and other community initiatives. To learn more, visit http://www.capitaloneinvestingforgood.com/.
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