New initiative to provide small loans to developing world

By agency reporter
November 13, 2008

Opportunity International, the world's largest Christian microfinance organization, has announced the launch of OptINnow, a new initiative in the fight against global poverty.

Based in the US, OptINnow connects people who want to make a difference with the working poor around the world who need small business loans to lift themselves out of poverty.

Through the new online donation model, consumers "opt in" - for as little as $25 - to become part of a global movement to help transform the lives of entrepreneurs throughout the developing world.

Millions of poor people, many of whom live on less than $2 a day, struggle to fund businesses and make enough money for their families to survive. A single loan from OptINnow starts the cycle of poverty alleviation, helping poor entrepreneurs to start or expand a business, and enabling them to provide better nutrition and schooling for their families and job creation in their communities.

"Donating on is simple and the impact is powerful," said Mark Smalls, senior vice president of marketing, Opportunity International. "As our clients repay the loans, the money is loaned again and again to help many more entrepreneurs. It's giving that keeps going."

Visitors to can read the story of each entrepreneur, which includes her or his name, photo, business profile and business needs, and then select one or more clients to support. The site currently features entrepreneurs in Kenya, the Philippines and Mexico, with more countries to be added in the coming weeks.

Beyond funding a loan, people can purchase gift cards and encourage others to fund an Opportunity International client through OptINnow. Supporters also can start groups of their friends, school, church or business associates to fund loans collectively, engaging more people in Opportunity International's mission to help end world poverty.

"OptINnow will assist us in reaching our goal to help 100 million poor people work their way out of poverty by 2015," said Christopher A. Crane, president and CEO of Opportunity International. "By expanding our supporter network, we hope to create a grassroots movement to get thousands of people to reach out with a hand up to the working poor."

Opportunity International serves approximately 1.2 million poor entrepreneurs in 28 developing countries, Opportunity International is a pioneer in offering small business loans, savings, insurance and training in basic business practices to women and men living in chronic poverty.

You can visit OptINnow here

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