Ann Gloag donates £100,000 to help women start own businesses

06 June 2012

Ann Gloag donates £100,000 to help women start own businesses

Ann Gloag OBE

One of Scotland’s most successful businesswomen and philanthropists, Ann Gloag OBE, has made a £100,000 donation to the Grameen Scotland Foundation with the ultimate aim of supporting budding female entrepreneurs in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities.  

Facilitated by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), the Grameen Scotland Foundation was set up at the beginning of 2012 to raise money to create a ‘micro-finance bank’ in the west of Scotland.

The bank will use Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen system of micro-finance, where unsecured loans and community-orientated financial advice are provided for social business development. The loans will support communities in Glasgow, North Ayrshire, West Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde.

Loans will be made to those who wish to start or expand small businesses, for example community lunch clubs and launderettes. The vast majority of Grameen loans are made to women. 

Ann Gloag is Scotland’s most successful female entrepreneur and is co-founder of the international transport company Stagecoach.   She has her own charitable foundations dedicated to helping women and children in Africa and is a keen supporter of a number of UK health, education and social enterprise charities.  

Professor Yunus visited GCU in March 2012, meeting with business leaders, MSPs, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney, and community groups in Glasgow’s east end. He later announced the creation of the new charity Grameen Scotland Foundation and its initial fundraising target of £1million. 

Beginning in Bangladesh in the 1970s the Grameen model of micro-finance has spread to 38 countries and has made more than 100 million microcredit loans. The model spread to the US in 2007 where the average loan is $1500 and the repayment rate is 99.3 per cent.

Ann Gloag said: “Too many of Scotland’s communities are blighted by the bitter mix of poverty, poor public health and lack of aspiration. I’m pleased to make this donation to the Grameen Scotland Foundation and to support an idea that promises not just to tackle these problems at source but to promote a climate of entrepreneurship and financial literacy in which I believe strongly.

“I have long been an admirer of the Grameen system of micro-finance and commend Professor Muhammad Yunus and Glasgow Calendonian University for bringing it to Scotland.”

GCU Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies, one of three Grameen Scotland Foundation trustees, said: “Though excellent micro-finance and corporate banking is available in Scotland, it has not been able to break through deep rooted economic inequalities.  The success of the Grameen Bank in other parts of the world, including the USA, demonstrates that its community-centred approach can make a serious contribution to improving the life expectancy of people from the most impoverished sectors of society.”