Official launch of Grameen microfinance in Australia to support women on low incomes

  • Grameen Australia’s first branch already supporting 40 members and 12 borrowers in Broadmeadows, Victoria.
  • Grameen to expand to 10 sites over next five years helping women to build their businesses and transition from unemployment, financial exclusion and poverty
  • Australian Government support of $3.5 million has helped establish Grameen in Australia along with $400,000 from Victorian Government to establish Broadmeadows branch

Equality in the workplace is front and center right now and global microfinance leader Grameen has officially launched in Australia with a focus on supporting women on low incomes.

Grameen was founded by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh in the late 1970s. To date around 300 million people, mostly women, have benefited from the Grameen microfinance model which provides small loans, financial training, and support to members seeking to generate income through self-employment.

Grameen Australia received $3.5 million funding from the Australian Government last year to establish a new microenterprise program aimed at supporting women on low incomes.

The first branch for ‘Grameen Today’ has been launched in Broadmeadows, Victoria and already supporting 40 women and 12 borrowers in the program.

The second branch will open in the local government area of Fairfield, New South Wales in the coming months. In the next five years, the ‘Grameen Today’ program aims to expand to 10 sites across Australia reaching women with enterprise aspirations who are experiencing unemployment, financial exclusion and poverty.

The organisation has committed to boosting employment through supporting people on low incomes to set up their own small businesses in Australia’s post-COVID future.

Quotes attributed to Grameen Australia Chair Ian Neil SC (who is available for interview)

“One of the key findings in the Jobs and Skills Summit was the need for greater support for women in employment. Grameen Australia is helping facilitate this, through enabling entrepreneurial people on low incomes, especially women, to build small businesses that create financial independence and meaningful livelihoods.”

“We are already seeing the impact and potential of the Grameen model through the success of our first borrowers in Australia. Many of our members are women who have escaped war and are attempting to build a better life for themselves and their families. Grameen’s loans, training and support are helping these women design and operate their own microenterprise which may include small businesses like crafts, personal services and retail.”

“There are already some wonderful examples including Raghad who after escaping ISIS with her young family, has started a business importing garments from Turkey and selling them in Australia and Misha’s Café, a dream come true for mum of three, Michline who escaped the war in Syria. We look forward to seeing many more success stories in the future.”

“The Grameen Today program is an exciting step for the Australian economy which will revolutionise employment of women and marginalised groups in the community. People on low incomes from a diverse range of backgrounds and life experiences including sole parents, carers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, migrants and refugees, and people living with a disability are encouraged to consider the program. ” adds Grameen Australia Chair Ian Neil SC.

Quotes attributed to Frank McGuire, MP for Broadmeadows (who is available for interview)

“This is a life-changing initiative to help vulnerable women and families break the cycle of poverty. It’s an initiative I have pursued for many years with the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.”

“I’m delighted it will be launched in Broadmeadows where it is needed most and extend across Australia.”