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April 1, 2022

Microlender to expand in Connecticut

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED Grameen America President and CEO Andrea Jung

An international microlending nonprofit plans to expand its program in Connecticut, the group announced Friday at the New Haven Free Public Library.

Grameen America, which runs a program offering loan capital, training and support to women entrepreneurs living at or below the federal poverty level, plans to expand to Bridgeport and Hartford.

Grameen launched in New Haven in July 2021 and has so far provided loans totaling over $826,000 to 372 female entrepreneurs in the state. Grameen’s loans are under $5,000 each and the repayment rate is 99.8%, CEO Andrea Jung told the library audience.

“Access to capital is a game changer for women entrepreneurs,” Jung said, adding that the New Haven Grameen location is among the fastest-growing in the nation. About 100 women in Bridgeport have already signed up to get loans, she added.

Gov. Ned Lamont said, “Grameen America’s microlending program is helping to ensure Connecticut’s lower-income, female entrepreneurs have the resources they need to realize their business goals and expand the positive impact they are having in the community.” 

According to Grameen, 21% of Connecticut’s residents are unbanked or underbanked, with many low-income residents in the state facing exclusion from the mainstream financial system due to educational, cultural and childcare barriers. 

“Grameen America is uniquely positioned to address the socioeconomic barriers that impact the state’s low-income businesswomen,” Jung said.

The organization also announced the debut of a new health program, Grameen Promotoras, to offer health education, clinical screenings and patient navigation to underserved communities. 

Westport-based Dalio Philanthropies is funding Grameen America’s expansion in Connecticut, and Grameen Promotoras launches with key funding from the Branford-based Seedlings Foundation, the organization said. 

Grameen America has offered loans to 142,500 people since its founding in 2008, for a total of $2 billion. An offshoot of a Nobel-prize-winning international effort launched in the developing world, Grameen America’s goal is to fight poverty in the United States.

Contact Liese Klein at

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