Changing Lives: The Power of Microfinance

Can you imagine being a young girl growing up in rural Zimbabwe and watching your grandmother sit under a shady tree, with a single sewing machine, and make dresses for a living to support her entire family of 6?

VIRL Microfinance serves over 4000 rural farmers in Zimbabwe with small loans, especially to women, that change their lives and the communities they live in.

VIRL Co founders Virginia Sibanda and Farai Mpofu could, because both of their grandmothers  were small business owners in rural Zimbabwe.   And they both always wondered what would have happened if someone had loaned their grandmother a little bit of money. Could she have developed her business into something more? Could she have employed more people? Or sent her kids to better schools?

With a passion for helping women and girls, these two amazing women launched VIRL to help rural farmers be able to get a small loan and give their families hope for a better life and to honor all that their grandmothers did to support them.

With over 4000 loans of less than $500 USD on average each, and over 60% of their loans going to women, VIRL has a proven model to create jobs, launch micro businesses and create a culture where sustainable growth is possible.

For the last 8 weeks IAEOU has been helping VIRL learn how to build their social media skills,  gain comfort learning how to share their stories both in writing and on film, and helped them to build an internal team focused on building the culture of VIRL into one that embraces crowdfunding to further fuel their mission.

If you are interested in learning more about VIRL click here. If you would like to show VIRL some love follow them on their Facebook page. And if you would like to hear some more heartwarming stories about some of VIRL’s clients, sign up for our news as we march towards our first crowdfunding campaign.

Wondering how exactly microfinance works?

Check out this TEDx by Tom Eggert who has been at the forefront of business and sustainability for 20 years. In this video he will show you how he and his students with $3000 US dollars in hand started a startup microfinance company. Tom Eggert teaches classes in sustainability at the University of Wisconsin and founded and serves as the Executive Director of the WI Sustainable Business Council.


To your highest purpose and best startup self, friends.

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