Find Your Cause: The MicroDreams Foundation

22 Aug

Meet The MicroDreams Foundation

MicroDreams acts as a catalyst to help develop and grow a new generation of microenterprise development organizations (MEDOs). With MicroDreams’ suite of new venture financing and advisory services, these small, young, promising, potentially high-growth MEDOs will grow, prosper and become permanent entities in their communities. They will provide the local poor with small business training, unsecured credit and ongoing guidance and motivation to make their clients’ micro-businesses a success. MicroDreams’ MEDO partners will also provide their clients credit for basic housing improvements and for childhood education, as well as access to convenient savings facilities and appropriate insurance coverage.

The MicroDreams Foundation has its roots in the South Pacific Business Development Foundation (SPBD), a microenterprise development organization founded by Greg Casagrande in the Pacific Island nation of Samoa in 2000. SPBD is the first successful MEDO in the Pacific Islands region and is well known for its efficiency and its effectiveness at empowering the poor. In 2007, SPBD-USA re-branded and became MicroDreams. MicroDreams is now focused on helping young MEDOs follow the successful path to commercial permanence blazed by SPBD. Today, although microfinance is renowned, the vast majority of financing goes to the world’s largest microfinance institutions, and hence the vast majority of the world’s poor remain without meaningful economic opportunity. The execution of MicroDreams’ vision will help to spread microfinance services throughout the developing world.

How The MicroDreams Foundation Does Good

MicroDreams builds financially sustainable, replicable, and scalable MEDOs that directly empower poor families to lift themselves permanently out of poverty. And MicroDreams does this where no one else does.

The MicroDreams process works in the following way:

First, MicroDreams targets

  • New MEDOs in the Pacific to launch, or
  • High-quality partner MEDOs throughout the world through a due diligence and selection process

Second, MicroDreams grows these MEDOs through:

  • Direct loans
  • Loan guarantees
  • Human resource development
  • Training and best practices
  • Ongoing strategic guidance

Third, MicroDreams empowers its MEDO partners to achieve permanence through:

  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Improved product design and social impact
  • Commercial financing partnerships

MicroDreams then repeats the cycle as:

  • MEDOs repay MicroDreams financing
  • MicroDreams measures impact
  • MicroDreams targets new MEDOs to launch or grow

The MicroDreams Foundation’s Impact

Since rebranding, MicroDreams has delivered more than US$1.5m of financing to young, well managed MEDOs in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.  Each MEDO is scaling its operations to become permanently viable and is dedicated to empowering the poor with a powerful hand-up and not a hand-out. MicroDreams continues to actively take on new partners around the world in its mission to seed the next generation of MEDOs to benefit the world’s poor.

Through its partner organizations, MicroDreams touches the lives of thousands of entrepreneurs, who in turn invest in their families’ education and housing needs. MicroDreams is proud to be an organization focused on changing lives, one at a time. MicroDreams has helped empower dreams for those profiled below and many more.

Tina is one of the micro-entrepreneurs supported by MicroDreams. She lives in a village in Vaimoso, Samoa and has a business which produces concrete balusters at her home. She has used her creativity, industrious work effort and a loan from MicroDreams’ partner South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) Samoa to implant herself right into the middle of the Samoan construction industry. Tina took out a ST$ 750 (about US$ 270) loan to purchase molding cases, a vice, iron rods and cement mix. Using the tools, iron rods and concrete mix, she can make a finished concrete baluster in about three hours. She can sell a baluster for ST$ 50 (about US$ 18) and is now producing and selling 40 balusters per week. That’s 120 hours per week (her operation is truly around the clock!). Her balusters are used for new Western style homes and offices, and Tina has now lined up several local contractors to whom she supplies her product. Tina, a mother of five, is also now able to afford significant improvements in her very basic home and can afford to give all of her children a good education and a good environment in which to grow up. She is just one of MicroDreams’ shining examples of formerly poor members who are now supercharged micro-entrepreneurs.


Catachfire’s Pro Bono Impact with The MicroDreams Foundation

MicroDreams has recently posted its first projects to Catchafire, and is now seeking its first pro bono professionals! You can have an impact by helping MicroDreams with  a Copywriting Project and a Website Design Project. The Copywriting Project will assist MicroDreams deliver their message more effectively to donors/supporters, partners and other key stakeholders. The professional would work with the COO to play a crucial role in helping to convey their message in a compelling, thoughtful and inspirational way. MicroDreams is also looking for a website design professional who can help them re-design their new, but not-yet-launched website to better communicate the “look and feel” of the organization.

Get Involved

MicroDreams is currently looking for professionals to help them with a Copywriting Project. and a Website Design Project. If this is not in your skillset but you would like to get involved, please favorite the MicroDreams page on Catchafire. (You need to be logged in to do this.) We’ll alert you as new opportunities to get involved become available.  If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, email community@catchafire.org.

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