Four Global Fellows, Four Months, Formidable Impact

Posted on 05/25/2020

Grameen Foundation India (GFI) provides strategic, innovative, and technical expertise to leading social enterprises, financial services institutions and technology providers, by extending financial services to underserved communities, especially women in rural India, through new delivery channels and mobile-based services. GFI is looking to launch its first social impact venture, named Grameen Impact Venture (GIV), a technology-based platform embedding a range of financial and non-financial products and services that will be offered to the rural poor through the Grameen Mittras, a women-based network of community finance workers, trained in digital and financial skills, that provide their neighbors with digital access to financial resources needed to improve their lives.

A team of four Global Fellows was tasked by GFI to develop the business model for the Grameen Impact Venture. In the span of four months, the volunteers worked together virtually and developed the revenue model to best fit the social enterprise and the Mittra model while also reviewing and validating GFI’s geographic expansion plan. Through this process, the volunteers were able to learn about the tremendous opportunity that the Grameen Impact Venture holds to make a significant impact.

The project offered the volunteers with an eye-opening experience into the challenges faced by the countless unbanked around the world. This also offered hope that organizations such as the Grameen Foundation exist to help this segment of the population. As noted by one of the volunteers: “being a small part of this process provided hope that we can impact the world, working together.” Another volunteer commented that “the use of digital technology is a powerful means to help bridge the divide to fundamental services for the underserved.”

The next steps would be for Grameen Foundation India to use the in-depth modeling and recommendations made by the volunteers to further fine-tune and optimize the implementation strategy while adding in key inputs from the Grameen Mittras and field staff into the business processes and training programs. Grameen Foundation India’s leadership hopes that the new venture will create self-employment opportunities for 10,000 women and impact the lives of over 50 million underserved community members in the next five years. “It was a moment of relief and reassurance when these high-quality and seasoned experts evaluated our base work and acknowledged that our new model would work,” expressed the Director of Program Strategy at GFI.

This was an amazing experience! The project allowed me to learn about a part of the world that I otherwise would not have experienced. I also feel like I have made new friends for life!  
— Suzanne Ramos, Volunteer
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