Press conference announces Grameen and Tesco news

25 October 2012

Press conference announces Grameen and Tesco news

Professor Muhammad Yunus with Benny Higgins, Principal Professor Pamela Gillies, Finance Secretary John Swinney and Martin Cheyne

GCU was a media hothouse today when leading titles visited the Glasgow campus for breaking news about Tesco Bank and the Grameen Scotland Foundation.

At a specially arranged press conference, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and Tesco Bank CEO, Benny Higgins, announced that the Grameen micro-lending system, which has helped lift millions of people out of poverty worldwide, is to be launched in Scotland early next year with the aid of Tesco Bank and other major supporters.

Tesco Bank will provide half a million pounds of the loan capital for what will be Grameen’s first venture in the UK. The supermarket bank will also offer savings facilities and business support for aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to start businesses in some of Scotland’s most deprived communities.

The Grameen Scotland Foundation, a charitable body run by a board of trustees, will oversee the running of Grameen-style lending in Scotland, a system originally devised by Professor Yunus, who becomes the new Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University.

Quizzing the press conference panel of Professor Yunus, Benny Higgins, John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Chair of Grameen Scotland Foundation Martin Cheyne and GCU Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies were journalists from BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, ITN, STV, Press Association, the Sunday Herald, the Evening Times and TESS.

Benny Higgins said: “This is a social investment in our community. We have many examples of work to be a force for the greater good and this is a big example. This is a unique opportunity to bring strengths and knowledge using our nine large and six smaller Tesco stores so that our customers can access Grameen for help and assistance.”

Martin Cheyne said: “This will be transformational in our society and without the vision of Professor Gillies we would not be here today. The input from Professor Yunus to start up and the support of the Scottish Government is vital.”