December 6, 2011 | 8:53 AM
While Grameen America is known foremost for its micro-loans to low-income entrepreneurs, it also aims to provide its borrowers the necessary support and essential information to start, consolidate, and grow a private business.
Throughout this year, I compiled a Resource Manual identifying affordable resources that borrowers can consult to address the countless issues encountered on the road to economic self-reliance. To date, four borough-specific versions of the Manual have been completed (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens).
Based on explicitly voiced questions from our borrowers, the Manual contains nine different sections: federal economic support programs; welfare resources; financial resources; assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses; adult education programs; health services; child care and after-school programs; legal counseling; and immigration services.
Each section provides a description of the services and a list of federal, state, and local government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations that provide free or low-cost assistance to low-income households and individuals.
At Grameen America, access is the key to empowerment. The Resource Manual provides access to existing services through local awareness.
By Benoit Jadoul—Pro-Bono Consultant