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Social Capitalists: Unitus

43 entrepreneurs who are changing the world
2007 Social Capitalist Winner

Unitus

Redmond, WA
Year founded: 2000
CEO: Geoff Davis
www.unitus.com

Our Mission

Unitus's mission is to reduce global poverty by increasing access to microfinance. Over the past 30 years, microfinance has proven itself a powerful tool for the alleviation of poverty. More than 90 million poor people worldwide benefit from microfinance loans as small as $50 and other financial services such as savings products and insurance. With the help of these financial products, micro-entrepreneurs are able to start or expand their own small businesses, create a sustainable source of income, and begin to lift their families out of poverty.

The microfinance industry is currently serving more than 92 million clients. However, despite three decades of effort, this represents less than 20 percent of the total demand. Only a few MFIs have grown to a size where they make a significant impact in the communities and regions in which they operate.

We founded Unitus to help the microfinance industry reach its full potential. Unitus is entirely focused on strengthening high-potential MFIs so that they can grow faster than ever before and close the gap between those who have access to microfinance and those who still need it. Our goal is to remove constraints to growth so that MFIs can do more of what they do best--provide life-changing financial services to the world's poor.

Our Strategy

Unitus helps the microfinance industry scale to reach more of the world's working poor.

Unitus:

  • Partners with the highest-potential MFIs in the world that share our vision of rapid growth.
  • Hires leading finance and consulting professionals from the for-profit world to combine best practices from the venture capital, strategy consulting and investment banking industries. Their job is to identify and remove constraints to our MFI partners' growth.
  • Provides high-impact financing and consulting to "supersize" our MFI partners so they reach at least 10 times their current number of clients.
  • Demonstrates that MFIs are not charities but businesses which serve the poor.
  • Encourages product development such as health insurance, school loans, mortgages, savings products and more.

Assuming five family members per borrower, Unitus is currently helping to bring microfinance products and services to more than 4.6 million people. For these families, microfinance means a successful business, better health care and housing, more nutritious food, and, perhaps most important, an education for their children. Microfinance truly is for many people the gift of opportunity and hope.

Our Goals

We have an ambitious goal of reaching 15 million clients by 2015--10 million in India alone. We will achieve this objective by accelerating the growth of our current MFI partners and by selecting new partners.

Unitus is based in Redmond, Washington, USA, with an office in Bangalore, India. We rely on innovative financial instruments and the financial resources of like-minded individuals and foundations to fulfill our mission.

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