Thelen in GuatemalaThe Spartan Global Development Fund (SGDF) provides entrepreneurs in developing countries around the world with the funds to support their businesses, their families and the communities they live in. The fund’s founder, Michael Thelen (BA website! ‘09), or came to International Business Law Professor Paulette Stenzel in the spring of 2009 with the idea for a microfinance program, and Stenzel says she knew it was something she couldn’t say no to.

SGDF finds people who need help using an organization called Kiva to connect them with global entrepreneurs. Kiva representatives connect with people like Blanca Cisneros, who owns a tortilla business in Ecuador, and feature their story on the Kiva website. Organizations like cheap mlb jerseys SGDF can then browse these stories and choose to loan a certain amount of money to people like Cisneros to help them reach a desired goal. Cisneros wanted to buy a bigger oven that would permit her to make more tortillas and raise Dollars her profits, and subsequently pay back the loan.

“It’s human beings in contact with each other; it’s not just the anonymity of a bank. We care about these people,” Stenzel says. “The people receiving these loans often areas have no other options, and are extremely grateful to the people who chose to give them a lifeline. The personal nature of the process allows it to be so successful.”

Chaz Bauer, the current SGDF president and Finance senior, said the pace at which loans have been paid off exceeded his expectations, which has enabled the group to help more people than they initially set out to help. The faster the loans are paid cheap jerseys free shipping off, the more people they can help. SGDF has a 100 percent payback rate, and many of their clients pay back their loans far earlier than agreed upon.

The group operates on donations from organizations and individuals, but the money is recyclable. When a loan is repaid, the process starts over again. Money comes back from one borrower and is lent out to another, touching the lives of another family and another community. “We’re supplying people who need money with money from people who are looking to give back,” Bauer says. “It’s not like you make a donation and it provides food for a day; it’s kind of the gift that keeps on giving. We make this loan out and people can use it for their business, and then they repay the loan Broad and we take the money they repay and Broad’s loan it to another person.”

Thelen, who has graduated since starting the project, got an opportunity to meet several of SGDF’s clients on a seven-month motorcycle journey through South America. He met women like Cisneros and was able to see firsthand how grateful they were for the 2010 opportunity to improve their business. The benefits are not just limited to one person – in small, developing communities, when one business thrives, the whole community thrives. People like Cisneros are able to provide reliable, cost effective food to the community, and successful business owners can afford to buy Trend books and uniforms to send their children to school.

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