For all interested in combining finance and community service, Small Step Loans, a new club in West Windsor-Plainsboro launched this past August, is a perfect opportunity to get involved in giving back to those struggling around the world. Small Step Loans is a student-led organization that involves microfinancing, a form of banking service provided to unemployed or low-income individuals who otherwise would not have access to traditional financial services. Their mission is to utilize microfinancing in order to manage loans and investments for small businesses and groups of people in developing nations.
Businesses around the globe are facing a huge loss in earnings during the Covid-19 pandemic—and small businesses are bearing the consequences. Latin America is one of these greatly affected regions, as they continue to face a rise in cases. This has directly affected Latin American businesses, with 80% of Spanish-speaking South Americans planning to cut down on spending in 2020, leaving them in loss of significant revenue. Due to this, Small Step Loans is focused on providing loans to groups of women in Latin America whose businesses have been affected by the pandemic.
Through a non-profit organization called Kiva, the club is able to contact struggling entrepreneurs all over the globe and loan them money to keep their businesses afloat during these trying times. When asked what inspired Shaina Shah, the founder and current president of Small Step Loans, to establish the club, she said, “I founded Small Step Loans because I wanted to support entrepreneurship in developing countries. I’ve always been curious about finance and how it can be used as a force for good, and I think microfinance is just that!”
This September, Small Step Loans hosted their first fundraiser through GoFundMe, an online platform used to raise donations, and they were extremely successful in raising over $1500, which will soon be chosen to go towards a group of women in Latin America. Their goals for the year include rolling out more loans, continuing to fundraise, and hosting classes raising awareness about the power of microfinancing in our community. With such ambitious goals in mind, Small Step Loans definitely has a busy 2021 year ahead of them. Nevertheless, the club is bound to reach major heights and our community at North definitely looks forward to seeing what they accomplish in the months to come.