By Scott Lyman, BA Finance and Social Relations & Policy, 2018
By Jake Sadilek, BA Psychology, 2019
Over the past several months, The Spartan Global Development Fund has raised $2,561 from donors to aid aspiring entrepreneurs around the world who face structural, social, and financial barriers to access capital. Two loans worth over $2,800 have been extended to Guatemalan coffee farmers and artisans through our international field partner, As Green As It Gets. Additionally, Spartan Global has supported 74 business owners with $1,225 in smaller loans through the online microloan platform, Kiva.
Sparked by new student leadership, this past semester set the bar for years to come. The first milestone came in the form of a $1,378 loan issued to As Green As It Gets in early June 2017. The loan will directly support a father-and-son coffee farming team hoping to recover their coffee crops after a fungal infection devastated their annual harvest. This loan marked Spartan Global’s largest student-led microloan project in over a year, representing the renewed presence of the organization on campus.
Shortly after finalizing the $1,378 loan to support Guatemalan coffee farmers in June, the Spartan Global student team was able to negotiate yet another microloan contract with As Green As It Gets. Worth $1,500, this second loan will be used to help a metal artisan and a motorcycle repairmen grow their respective businesses. Structuring and facilitating these two loans have provided each SGDF member with invaluable experience, and we expect to expand on our successes in the upcoming 2017-2018 school year.
In the upcoming year, we will be focused on facilitating more loans, gaining support among MSU alumni, partnering with local sponsors and corporations, and strengthening the organization as a whole. Through building on the experiential foundation established during the 2016-2017 academic year, we hope to keep our momentum rolling.
In December 2017, we will be visiting our long-standing field partner in Guatemala, As Green As It Gets. Our itinerary includes exploring their coffee production lands and facilities, networking directly with community entrepreneurs, experiencing local culture and cuisine, and studying the businesses of coffee producers and artisans we have supported in the past. Visiting the recipients of past loans Spartan Global has facilitated will provide new insights regarding the impact of our work.
Summer is wrapping up and the fall semester is fast approaching. With the excitement and progress of the 2016-2017 academic year fresh in our minds, we launch into a new year of work.