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Microfinance Guidebook Introduction
Category: Microcredit | By SDR, 24-Aug-2019 | Viewed 614  Comments 0 | Source Matthew Kane
North Raleigh Rotary Club 2018-19 President Jason Potts(L), Matthew (right), plus 3 graduates of LaunchRALEIGH

Introduction to the RAGM Guidebook

If you are selected to serve as President of your Rotary club, past leaders will step forward to offer resources that help you navigate the challenges, reduce the learning curve and learn to be an effective leader.  This is exactly why we compiled this Guidebook.  Rotarians with years of experience building community development and microfinance projects recognized the value of compiling tips, recommendations and best practices into a single document.  With the help of this guide, Rotarians like you can more readily implement effective projects in your community and around the world. 

Recognizing the power of Rotary grants, I led my club to participate in microfinance projects first in Guatemala and then in Colombia. When the small loans were repaid in full and immediately lent again to another entrepreneur, it helped my club members to appreciate the powerful  impact a small loan program has in the developing world.

More recently, in my own city of Raleigh, North Carolina, USA we have built a program called LaunchRALEIGH that offers business education, small loans, mentors and networking. We focus on an under-served and underestimated community and in two years we have graduated seventy four entrepreneurs from our program. We funded the program in part through a Rotary District Grant supported by three local Rotary clubs.  While initially founded by Rotarians in Detroit, Michigan USA, this Launch model has now been copied by seven other communities within a short drive from my home.

Do you have interest in offering small loans to low income communities but don't know where to begin? Would you be interested in learning how to identify partners in your community who may be eager to help you? If so, this Guidebook is for you. 

You will learn the basics of microfinance including:
> how to identify six key Community Partners
> learn how to confirm your community can truly benefit from microfinance
> learn where to find a top quality business education curriculum  
> learn how to select quality mentors
> learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of your program

We welcome your suggestions

to improve this Guidebook and to help us continue to be a resource for Rotarians. 

Editor's note on sustainability:

Matthew reports that over a two week period in August 2019 he has conducted 40 interviews (30 minutes each) of candidates for the LaunchRALEIGH program all of whom are hoping to be accepted into the next class starting September 10th. As the program becomes better known in the community and as our graduates refer new entrepreneurs to our program he says, the quality of our applicants goes up. This may produce a surfeit but Matthew says that it is a nice problem to have. He went on to say that we are now asking our past LaunchRALEIGH graduates to help conduct interviews, select the next class, participate in the weekly classes as "Graduate Assistants" and in December some of them will serve as Mentors. 

Matthew also notes the importance of many contributors in the creation of this popular Guidebook, not the least of which is our RAGM President Nick Frankle.(nickdg1617@earthlink.net)

Matthew Kane
RAGM - Developed World Microfinance Director
North Raleigh Rotary
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