Student Startup Offers Microfinance for Local Economy | UW Madison | #socent

Selby Rodriguez offers an interesting story in the Badger Herald on a student startup entering the domestic micro finance market with the Madison Fund. As always, Madtown has some really innovative folks — including an early example of a functioning, diverse food truck industry).

Rosenthal said he was inspired by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and his microcredit-providing Grameen Bank when he began to look into similar institutions in the United States.

After discovering many of these organizations were student-run, Rosenthal then decided to create his own, embarking on a journey spanning the better part of eight months.

Additionally, Rosenthal said his research revealed a large percentage of the Wisconsin population is underbanked and face obstacles when seeking to borrow funds.

“People are finding it extremely hard to get credit in this economy and oftentimes they are simply denied by banks for loans without any other place to go,” he said. “We found this huge demand for very small amounts of capital to start businesses and keep them running.”

Rosenthal said a main motivation of the Madison Fund is to help those seeking small loans in the Madison community and its neighboring towns.

Tapper said the business’ target clients are low-income entrepreneurs and business owners who are unable to meet traditional bank lending criteria.

Both Tapper and Rosenthal said there were no requirements outside of motivation, hard work and commitment for the Fund’s prospective clients.

I’m pretty excited to see how this student built and run micro finance fund works out. More from the article:

He added because the Madison Fund was student-run, volunteers have the unique opportunity to run their own projects within the business.

Students interested in volunteering for the business can get in touch with Rosenthal and Tapper by using the Fund’s website, Tapper said.

“It is a phenomenal chance to make your own changes in the Madison community,” Tapper said. “Meeting with community members and helping them fulfill their dreams is the most rewarding experience I have ever had.”

via The Badger Herald: Student startup aims to bolster local economy.

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