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  • 06.22.11

5 Tips For Transforming The Micro-finance System

During a recent visit to Michelin, their CEO was proud to share an initiative where Michelin had allocated $2 million for lending to local small businesses in light of the economic crisis. Its success got me thinking, “Why hasn’t the domestic micro-finance model moved to the forefront of options for small businesses today?”

It is clear that the current efforts are not competing with the role of banks, but imagine if in each city there was a geographically relevant micro-finance collaborative that invites the largest revenue and profitability corporations to pool funds for lending to small businesses in their immediate surrounding area. Imagine local government and local banks also joining the collaborative.

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There is no question that our local governments and banks are currently challenged while the largest corporations sit with some of the most cash reserves in history. Why don’t they put some of that money to work for the communities they depend on for workers, customers and goodwill?

Employing a lens of “Uncommon Sense,” here are five tips I believe could help transform our domestic micro-finance system:

  1. Big businesses in every city in America should take a clear look at how they can become a greater part of their surrounding community by engaging with, and supporting, small businesses.
  2. Big businesses should consider how they can share their resources to help smaller businesses in their immediate communities grow.
  3. Big businesses should explore how they can work together in their city to create a small business fund to help fund small business growth.
  4. Non-competitive big businesses should look at how they can collaborate to support emerging small businesses in their communities.
  5. Big businesses should explore how they can share their professional expertise and technical resources to help accelerate small business growth in their communities.

About the author

Shawn Parr is the Guvner & CEO of Bulldog Drummond, an innovation and design consultancy headquartered in San Diego whose clients and partners have included Starbucks, Diageo, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Adidas, MTV, Nestle, Pinkberry, American Eagle Outfitters, Ideo, Sony, Virgin, Disney, Nike, Mattel, Heineken, Annie’s Homegrown, Kashi, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, The Honest Kitchen, and World Vision.

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