Milestone mark for Scottish micro-credit initiative

15 December 2016

Grameen in the UK client Amina Hnkana (centre) pictured with her peer group supporters Nimali Dimunge (left) and Monalisa Johnson (right)

Grameen in the UK client Amina Hnkana (centre) pictured with her peer group supporters Nimali Dimunge (left) and Monalisa Johnson (right)

Scotland’s only dedicated group-based micro-credit business loan provider has achieved a major milestone.

Grameen in the UK has now distributed more than £600,000 through 450 loans to start-up and existing small businesses across Glasgow not served by mainstream financial services.

The initiative is facilitated by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and inspired by the Grameen system in Bangladesh, which was created by GCU Chancellor and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Professor Muhammad Yunus.

Potential borrowers form a group with four peers and receive free tailored training before qualifying for an initial loan of up to £1,000 repayable over 52 weeks.

The popular initiative has just secured further funding support totalling £393,000 as it continues to develop its operations. Social Investment Scotland has committed £250,000, whilst there is also investment from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation; Scottish Government; Robertson Trust and Big Lottery.

This builds on the continued support from the Whole Planet Foundation – established by Whole Foods Market, Inc – and Tesco Bank, whose Legal Director Michael Mustard has been appointed to the Grameen Scotland Foundation Board, which oversees Grameen in the UK.

Kevin Cadman, Chief Executive of Grameen in the UK, said: “This is a major milestone for Grameen in the UK. We are proud to serve the communities and people of Glasgow thanks to our investors and supporters, not least of all Glasgow Caledonian University.

“Our loans are affordable and reach those most in need, enabling our clients to increase their income for the benefit of them and their families. We enter into a social contract with every client, encouraging them to start saving and providing guidance and support to develop their businesses.”

Amina Hnkana joined Grameen in the UK in 2015, helping her run family-owned takeaway and catering business Cuisine Africana in Dennistoun.

She said: “Cuisine Africana has grown a lot since I found Grameen and I am currently looking to expand further. Grameen low interest loans are the best and I hope they can be around for a long time to continue helping genuine hardworking business owners.”

GCU offers the pioneering MSc Social Business and Microfinance and researchers from the University’s Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health are working with Grameen borrowers to explore the link between improved income and health.