Grameen in the UK celebrates first loans at GCU

24 June 2014

Kevin Cadman and Shamsul Chowdhury, Grameen in the UK, meet with Professor Muhammad Yunus and his wife Professor Afrozi Yunus

Kevin Cadman and Shamsul Chowdhury, Grameen in the UK, meet with Professor Muhammad Yunus and his wife Professor Afrozi Yunus

Grameen in the UK, the micro-lending initiative facilitated by Glasgow Caledonian University, has celebrated making the first Grameen-style loans in Western Europe. 

The Grameen system was created by GCU Chancellor and Nobel-Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, one of the best-regarded social entrepreneurs in the world, who met with the first borrowers and stakeholders at an event on campus on Monday, June 23.

Professor Yunus started the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1976 and it has gone on to help millions of people worldwide to fight poverty. GCU has been facilitating the introduction of the Grameen approach since the renowned anti-poverty campaigner accepted an honorary degree from the University in 2010.

Professor Yunus said he enjoyed meeting the first borrowers during the event:

“You think about it, you dream about it, you struggle with it, and finally when it happens it’s a fantastic experience.”

Stakeholders and funders including representatives from Tesco Bank, The Scottish Government, GCU’s Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, Glasgow City Council and North Ayrshire Council, attended the event.

They were joined by members of the Grameen Scotland Foundation – the charitable trust which directs Grameen in the UK. These included Chairman Martin Cheyne, GCU Principal Professor Pamela Gillies and entrepreneur Ann Gloag.

Kevin Cadman, Chief Executive of Grameen in the UK, said:

“I am proud to be leading a small team, drawn from both Bangladesh and Scotland, which has such great knowledge of both Grameen methodology and of the UK financial marketplace.”

Grameen in the UK offers financial support to the thousands of people who are currently not served by any financial services, initially working with communities in the West of Scotland.

Grameen in the UK’s goal is to encourage and support individuals to leave welfare behind by starting their own small social businesses, or by supporting growth of existing small enterprises, and thereby encourage individuals’ economic and personal development and that of their family and their community.

Martin Cheyne, Chairman of the Grameen Scotland Foundation said: 

“The idea to introduce the Grameen model of microfinance was first mooted in 2010 and, since then, it’s been a remarkable journey for all involved. There have been many obstacles to overcome but we have persevered and are now celebrating the progress made.”

More details of the Grameen in the UK system are available on the organisation’s website.