American Express Serve2Gether Offers Unique Insights on Grameen America’s Role in Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

Wed, 2016-07-13 11:39

Grameen America has partnered with the American Express Serve2Gether Consulting Program, which matches American Express team members with nonprofit organizations and social enterprises to provide critical strategic consulting services. Upon conclusion of the 10-week long project, the team provided Grameen America with key insights into the national landscape of the microfinance industry, the unique role Grameen America plays in serving low-income entrepreneurs, and recommendations to successfully scale the organization in the years ahead. Below are a few of the team’s top findings: 

What is the state of microfinance in the United States?

The team’s research estimates that less than 1% of the national demand for microloan products is currently satisfied. This is particularly true for the space in which Grameen America excels – the community-based lending market, with low-to-no collateral and credit requirements.

These findings not only highlight the microfinance industry’s significant room for growth, but the astounding demand for safe and affordable capital among micro- and small business owners.

What sets Grameen America apart?

When it comes to the micro-lending landscape in the United States, customers have a range of options, ranging from traditional banks to online lenders, payday lenders, and microfinance institutions. Among microfinance institutions, the team found that Grameen America occupies a unique space. Grameen America is a mission-based organization, which does not require collateral or credit history and utilizes a peer-lending model. Further, with eighteen branches in eleven cities, Grameen America is unique in its nationwide footprint.

What is next for Grameen America? 

As Grameen America scales its operations, our members are also scaling their small businesses. In fact, our organization has members that have been in the program for nearly eight years. It has been inspiring to watch our members graduate from their initial $1,500 microloan to access greater amounts of capital, improve their credit scores and build assets through the program. With each loan, we’ve seen them expand their businesses, diversify their inventory, buy new equipment, and even hire employees from within their community. Thanks to the American Express Serve2Gether team, we are equipped with recommendations for ensuring our members are able to successfully grow their businesses.  

The American Express Serve2Gether Consulting Program team visits Grameen America members in Brooklyn. 

The American Express Serve2Gether team present their findings to Grameen America staff.

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