Youth Canada

Are You Up for the Microcredit Competition?

19-09-2008 by Matthew Ho

Are You Up for the Microcredit Competition?

Are you bold? Are you savvy? Are you an entrepreneur?
Are you compassionate? Do you care about the world around you? Are you looking to make a difference?
If so, then you’ll probably be interested in the Microcredit Competition.

The Competition

The competition, organized by Impact Entrepreneurship Group, is open to secondary school and CÉGEP students across Canada. Each school is only allowed to field one team of 3-5 students, so sign up fast and get dibs on a spot! From October 20th-27th, 2008, you and your team have $100 (provided by us with no strings attached) and one week to use that one hundred to generate as much money as you can. At the end of the week, we recollect your revenue and donate it: half of it goes to a microfinance institution (MFI), and the other half goes to a charity of your choice.

Of course, there’s a little bit more than pride in it for you. We’re awarding fabulous prizes (courtesy of our sponsors) to outstanding projects in different categories.

The Competition is the perfect opportunity for anyone interested in business, in fighting poverty, or in plain-out having fun. Where else will you find someone willing to give you a hundred dollars and (almost) no restrictions about how you’re allowed to use it? Fun and fulfillment come as part of the package as you flex your entrepreneurial muscles for a worthy cause. Gather a group of four others and try all the wacky, outside-the-box ideas you can come up with. Feel the satisfaction of being a successful entrepreneur, and the gratification of raising money for the needy.

If you have a creative streak, a willingness to try new things, and an itch to benefit people in need, you’re exactly who we’re looking for. Sign up for your school team at http://microcredit.impact.org. Not only is it a unique opportunity for fun and learning, it’s a great resume addition as well. What university, scholarship committee, or employer wouldn’t be interested in someone who managed to turn a hundred dollars into a thousand and then donated it to charity?

Want more info? Want to join up? Check out our website at http://microcredit.impact.org.

Microcredit?

Microcredit, a.k.a. microfinance, is a system in which lenders make small loans to impoverished people who are not qualified to borrow money from conventional banks. People such as Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel prize-winning banker who started the microfinance institution (MFI) Grameen Bank, are proving that large-scale microfinance is a viable option against poverty.

Microfinance revolves around the fact that oftentimes among the poor, there are those who would make adept businesspeople if only they had the initial capital to get their business idea off the ground. MFIs seek to provide a solution to people like these, lending small sums (sometimes as little as one hundred dollars) on trust to people who cannot put up the collateral required for loans by conventional banks. These loan recipients can now start their own businesses and become self-sufficient. The effect is not limited to the owner of the business, either. All growing businesses gradually take on employees. Many of them require raw materials or supplies to keep running. Perhaps a businessperson granted opportunity through microfinance will turn to help a neighbour in a similar way. Thus, microfinance can lift many individuals out of poverty; one loan can be the impetus for the liberation of thousands from the vicious cycle.

In short...

Microfinance may be an ingenious solution to a complex problem, but it, like most forms of charity, needs money in order to run. In this case, microfinance organizations need money to lend to potential entrepreneurs. That’s where the Microcredit Competition and you come in. Part fundraising initiative, part entrepreneurial experience, the Competition is a rare, valuable opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to push the limits in a fun, friendly, nothing-to-lose environment.

Every cause needs a champion—why not you?

MATTHEW HO was an intrepid Impact in-office intern (i.e., a Four-I's) along with Pretty, William, Imran and Wendy in August 2008. He is a second-year IB student at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary, as well as an alumnus of the Shad Valley program (Carleton 2009). Along with the other interns, he worked to bring you the Microcredit Competition. That is why you can see his face on the front page of the Microcredit Competition website (guess who!).