Good comments and additional insight ad perspective. I agree that an important step for these new entrepreneurs is education. I checked out a few resources and it looks like providing additional educaiton (and how to pay for it) is an issue. Generally
the focus wasn't on debt education but was more focussed on basic needs like basic healthcare, nutrition, education, disease prevention. But the idea of gathering the brorrowers together in a community to share ideas and learn together in all of these areas
seems to make sense. Financial education will likely follow these more basic needs.
It is all baby steps. You would hope that those that had succeeded would then share with the starters and that some form of mentoring (villager to villager) could eventually occur.
I found the interview quite inspiring and informative. Based on some of the commentary here, I also took a shot at answering some of the questions.
It seems pointless to view the terms of these loans relative to the US credit markets and lending environment. Since none of us are living in a third world country subsisting on $2 per day, it makes no sense to wonder what seems like fair terms.
We just can't think about terms for these type of loans from our world. For example, how many traditional US banks would lend $100 to someone with no assets, no education and no income? I would suggest zero.
Rather than compare 20%-30% to our mortage rates, we should be comparing them as Mike does to their market of 300%+. Even so, a a rate of 20%-30% is not far off from credit card rates.
Micro-credit is all about economic self-reliance and empowering an individual to lift
herself out of poverty. Increasing sustainable income decreases vulnerability. It empowers individuals to overcome the inequities of the structures that produce and reproduce poverty.
Unitus is a great example of innovation and leadership.