Slow Money NC Visits Elon

EMI members pose for a picture with Slow Money NC founder Carol Hewitt.

EMI members pose for a picture with Slow Money NC founder Carol Hewitt.

On Thursday, March 13th, Carol Hewitt of Slow Money NC visited Elon Microfinance Initiative for a discussion on microfinance and social business in North Carolina. Hewitt is the founder and principal matchmaker for Slow Money NC, an organization started in 2010 that provides loans to businesses in the food and farming industries.

Hewitt started Slow Money after years of work in social justice. She was captivated by the idea that many small businesses can succeed with very small amounts of capital. Of the 90% of small businesses that fail, Hewitt believes many of them could have been saved with microfinance loans. “One of the reasons we find microfinance so compelling is that it’s hopeful,” Hewitt mentioned. “There’s just a natural way of looking for things that are hopeful.”

Slow Money NC has funded more than 55 businesses in the food and farming industries.

Slow Money NC has funded more than 55 businesses in the food and farming industries.

Since founding Slow Money, Carol has facilitated more than 55 loans to local businesses, including a major loan to help refinance a company shops market near Pittsboro, NC. In addition to her work with microfinance, Ms. Hewitt is also an accomplished author. She wrote Financing Our Foodshed: Growing Local Food with Slow Money, which chronicles the stories of more than 20 Slow Money businesses.

Elon Microfinance Initiative is very grateful to Carol for making a trip to Elon and we look forward to working with her company this semester!

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Month of Microfinance Contests and Internships

The Month of Microfinance is coming to Elon from April1 to April 30, 2014!

The Month of Microfinance is coming to Elon from April1 to April 30, 2014!

Elon Microfinance Initiative is proud to support the Month of Microfinance, which will be held again this year from April 1-30. The Month of Microfinance is a small movement of student groups in the United States dedicated to the causes of microfinance and social business. EMI is an endorsing partner of the Month of Microfinance, joining forces with organizations such as Accion USA, Kiva, and the Whole Planet Foundation.

To promote their cause, the Month of Microfinance is sponsoring several contests for students:

$200 – Best Student Microfinance-related Video

Your video can explain microfinance, highlight a particular organization, or do anything else to educate about client-centered microfinance.  The video will be judged based on the educational value, creativity, and strength of message. One high school and one college student will be awarded a $200 Kiva Card which can be used to lend a loan on Kiva.org. 

 $50 – $200 – Student Essay Competition on Microfinance

The Month of Microfinance and our partners are calling for original essays from students of microfinance (middle school, high school, undergraduates and graduate students) in both English and Spanish.

$100 – Best Microfinance T-Shirt

The Month of Microfinance and our partner Bonsai People – The Vision of Muhammad Yunus want to spark your artistic creativity, so we’re asking you to create t-shirt designs on the website Zazzle.com and send us the t-shirt design you’ve made.  You’re allowed to submit as many t-shirt ideas as you’d like and you may want to print yours and wear it around to spark a dialogue on microcredit and month of microfinance. You have two chances of winning.  We have a Best Design and a Most Viral award.  Both winners will receive $100 and a Bonsai People DVD.

In addition, the Month of Microfinance has several internship opportunities available for the summer of 2014. These internships include opportunities for students to work with microfinance organizations in New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. They also include international development opportunities in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. You could even work with small business owners EMI has loaned to!

For more information, be sure to visit the Month of Microfinance’s website.

 

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Martin Yeral

1535279Martin, 34 years old, is from the region of Cucirisne in Nicaragua. He is a father of two children aged 7 and 11 years old, and he is dedicated to planting corn and wheat. He also has cows which allows him to sell milk. When the crops are low, he leaves the country to work picking coffee. Everything that he grows he sells in the same region. Today, he is requesting this loan to buy wire, staples and pay labor to help him repair his pasture fences. Martin says that the loan will be helpful because at this time he does not have the money needed for the maintenance and cleaning of his animals.

Elon Microfinance Initiative helped Martin fund his farming business with a $25 loan in February 2014.

 

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Dergham

derghamDergham is a 38-year-old married father of three children who has worked in agriculture for fourteen years. He has a small farm in Lebanon where he raises livestock that are his only source of a living. He is a hard worker and well known in his region with a special reputation for the quality of products he provides.

He is acquiring a loan from Kiva partner, Al Majmoua, to pay for his mother’s funeral expenses that weren’t expected, and he wasn’t saving extra money for unexpected occasions. Dergham is his family’s sole breadwinner, and that’s why he has to work hard on developing his business to make sure that it will cover his family’s needs and expectations.

EMI proudly supported Dergham’s family and business with a $50 loan in February 2014.

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Jabbor

jabborJabbor is an active and cheerful man of 72. He lives and works in the Shahrituz region of Tajikistan. In Tajikistan, winter arrives and is not very cold. It gets cold on in the Pamira Mountains. But in Shahrituz winter comes and goes almost without notice. Residents of Shahrituz can plant crops at any time of year, because the sun shines almost the entire year. The proof is shown in the photograph of Jabbor; the photo was taken at the end of January.

Using the favorable climate of his native places, Jabbor actively begins the potato planting. In order to plant potatoes it is necessary to buy potatoes and mineral fertilizers. But for completing the purchase Jabbor does not have enough money, Therefore, he applied for a loan. He needs help to purchase potatoes and mineral fertilizers, in order to plant potatoes.

Elon Microfinance Initiative helped Jabbor continue his potato farming business with a $50 loan in February 2014.

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EMI Sponsoring “The Interview Reality Show” February 17th

Elon Microfinance Initiative is proud to announce our first event of the 2014 Spring Semester. As part of Elon University’s Professional Development Week, EMI is co-sponsoring “The Interview Reality Show”. This event is designed to introduce Elon students to the world of interviewing, which is essential for landing jobs and internships.

Top professionals will lead a panel discussion to share their expertise on the interview process. Guest panelists include Anne-Marie K. Streeter, Director of Employee Relations & HR Compliance for SAS Institute; Iris Austin, Human Resources Business Partner for Volvo North America; and Kelly Gray, Human Resources Director for Ralph Lauren.

The event will be held at McKinnon Hall at Moseley Center on Monday, February 17th. The event will begin at 6:15 pm. We hope to see everyone at this great professional development event.

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Lend For America Conference

EMI VP of Public Relations Anna DeDufour (left) and Savannah Peery represented Elon at the 5th Annual Lend for America Summit from October 11-13.

EMI VP of Public Relations Anna DeDufour (left) and Savannah Peery represented Elon at the 5th Annual Lend for America Summit from October 11-13.

For its first event of the 2013-14 school year, Elon Microfinance Initiative members attended the Lend for America Summit at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA from October 11-13. Dedicated EMI members Anna DeDufour (Vice-President of Public Relations) and Savannah Peery represented Elon University at the Summit, which brought together over 200 students and experts from the field of microfinance. Now in its fifth year, Lend for America brings together leaders from campus microfinance institutions nationwide to host a unique dialogue on offering microfinance services to Americans.

Anna and Savannah attended several breakout sessions at the event, with topics ranging from micro-financial modeling to careers in microfinance to community development. Savannah found the conference to be a very enlightening experience.

“I think the most beneficial part of the conference was the familiarity of everyone about the topic of microfinance and it was just so easy to bounce ideas off each other,” Savannah remarked. “They made us feel like friends and teammates rather than associates.”

They also learned several lessons at the conference that are very applicable to our organization. Specifically looking to the future, they believe EMI can make an impact in the Burlington-Alamance County community by providing education and assistance to small business owners on topics like personal finance, banking, and networking. EMI anticipates building relationships with small business owners and business officials in our community.

Anna added: “We learned from other organizations in the industry about their activities and learned how we can grow our organization here at Elon. We received professional advice that will be very beneficial going forward.”

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