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Why is Vittana coming to SOCAP10?

Cameron Campbell September 28, 2010

Cameron Campbell spoke with Lisa Lindberg, head of Marketing at Vittana about why its coming to SOCAP10 and what’s next for microfinance.
Vittana’s CEO  Kushal Chakrabarti will be attending the conference.
Why is Vittana coming to SOCAP10?
We believe, like SOCAP, that it’s time to answer the question ‘What’s Next? for the social capital markets.
We think that building upon the success of microfinance by extending beyond a practice of providing capital to build small business, and using microloans to lift students out of poverty is the next step to take. By using microlending to provide needed funds in developing nations for college or vocational degrees that result in real, employable skills is a needed, effective next step forward. This is what we do, and we’r passionate about our work, our stories and sharing the results we are seeing.

This is a topic that is getting attention. On September 9th, the Economist ran an article entitled “Funding poor students could be the next big thing in microfinance” – we were very excited to be included, and are pleased to see these ideas starting to take hold.
We are excited to connect with others at SOCAP that share this vision.
What Announcements/ Good News will Vittana talk about at SOCAP10?

1. The early success we are seeing with our student lending programs:

Vittana empowers young people to complete their post-secondary or vocational schooling, and build a better future for themselves and their families.

Much like Muhammad Yunus built the Grameen model of traditional microcredit thirty years ago, today the Vittana model seeks to leverage the power microfinance to make education more readily available in developing nations. Our goal is to prove this model is financially viable for banks and capital markets, thereby catalyzing access to education for potentially millions.

We really see Vittana as a catalyst in starting student-lending microfinance programs in developing regions, on the ground, where it counts. We’re excited to work as an innovator, funding the “last mile” of education” for our students. And, much like the last mile of a marathon, it’s often the hardest, and the most important effort to make. We have found that if you can get someone between $200 – $1000 extra dollars and keep them in school an extra 6-12 months so they can graduate from a certificate or degree program, you can instantly make good on an 18+ year investment. Our students earn 200%-300% more post graduation – the difference between $3/6 per day and $18/day in wages. That’s a solution to poverty.

Vittana has expanded their student lending programs 5 countries; we’ve now funded over 500 students, and raised over $350k in student loans. Our loan repayment rate is 95%+, and we’re excited to see this model working.

Here are two stories that bring this home:

* Haward => http://huff.to/bIBG4j; he got a loan through Vittana, graduated and then offered his skills *pro bono* back to Vittana.

* Mercy => http://bit.ly/bfvtRT; she wanted to become a teacher, but needed to support younger siblings and started selling roast chicken in Huaycan, Peru. Fast-forward 8 years and a Vittana loan, she’s now graduating teaching school and already taken steps (e.g. school savings account) to make sure daughter never goes through same.

What’s Next for Vittana?
Vittana is expanding into Africa via their Clinton Global Initiative Commitment, announced last week.
The Clinton Global Initiative has highlighted Vittana’s Commitment To Action which brings student-lending programs to Africa as one of the key Education commitments in 2010, with a goal of having these lending program in place, and reaching 10,000 deserving students, by 2015.
Through its initiative, Vittana/Africa: Bringing Student Loans to Africa, Vittana will partner with some of Africa’s finest microfinance institutions to launch one of the first lending programs that specifically targets young people, helping fund their post-secondary education. These loans will help 10,000 students complete the “last mile” of their education by the year 2015. With about $1,000, within one year these students can gain real, employable skills in fields such as nursing, law enforcement, and IT, changing the entire trajectory of their lives.
-By Cameron Campbell and Lisa Lindberg

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