Last weekend, the Intersect Fund hosted the first-ever gathering of student-run microenterprise programs in the nation. Over the last two months, with the help of FIELD, we two-day agenda to share emerging best practices and experiences — and perhaps even develop a vision for collaboration. We even got Intersect Fund clients Sam Johnson and Pearl Thompson to do the catering. In attendance were:
- Bentley Microcredit Initiative
- Big Red Microcapital (Cornell)
- Capital Good Fund (Brown)
- Duke Microfinance Leadership Initiative
- Elmseed Enterprise Fund (Yale)
- Lehigh Microfinance Club
- The Intersect Fund (Rutgers)
What an incredible two days it was. Having this much brainpower in the room allowed us to talk shop and get advice from others who had experienced much of the same things we have. The number of different approaches, products, and services was fascinating — from green credit builder loans to partnerships with credit unions — especially given how young most of the programs are.
Hours before we adjourned, the consensus in the room was that we should form some sort of alliance that would allow for distributed costs for resources (i.e. Credit Builders Alliance, MicroTest) and sharing of best practices.
I left the conference energized with new ideas and great hope about the awareness we can bring to the industry and the magnitude of what we can accomplish together.