SOURCE: Village Enterprise

Village Enterprise

June 21, 2011 14:35 ET

Village Enterprise Launches New Website

New Look for Microfinance Organization That Delivers Microenterprise Development

SAN CARLOS, CA--(Marketwire - Jun 21, 2011) - Village Enterprise, a leader in rural microenterprise development, has launched a new website and logo: www.villageenterprise.org. These changes reflect a new stage for this nonprofit, as it builds on its history of innovation and shifts into high gear with new leadership, new programs, and a new 5-year strategic plan. Village Enterprise's livelihood development model ‐‐ business and savings training, seed capital grants, formal savings groups, and mentoring -- helps alleviate poverty in rural communities in East Africa.

Village Enterprise's Website Reflects Innovation
"This new look helps current and potential donors -- and others interested in our work -- get a very vivid, clear sense of what we do and how we do it," notes CEO Dianne Calvi, who joined the organization in 2010. "The website spells out our theory of change, introduces some of our incredible entrepreneurs, shares impact data, and is visually compelling -- it catches the excitement of our work in East Africa." This past year the organization introduced new elements, such as business group savings programs, "Business-in-a-Box," enhanced poverty targeting, measurement, and evaluation, extension of pro-poor technology, and expansion of its innovative integration of conservation and sustainable livelihoods. Their new tagline is "Creating sustainable businesses. Transforming lives."

Rigorous Monitoring and Evaluation of Impact is Key
Earlier last year, GiveWell (a NY‐based charity evaluation nonprofit) awarded Village Enterprise a coveted top-ranked status on their own website, www.givewell.org. They noted that Village Enterprise "stood out in taking a strong, evidence-based case that they are improving the financial situations of low‐income people in the developing world" and because of its "clear targeting of extremely poor clients (and data collection to ensure that the targeting is working)." Of special note are Village Enterprise's excellence in transparency of information, and strength in both monitoring and evaluation. Village Enterprise is able to measure the impact of its programs because the organization gathers baseline data from potential business leaders before they participate. The organization's impact assessment study quantifies how Village Enterprise has helped transform the lives of the rural poor in sub‐Saharan Africa, dramatically improving the standard of living for the participants. Village Enterprise, founded in 1987, has helped launch more than 23,000 businesses, each of which improves the lives of an average of 25 people (575,000 people total).

About Village Enterprise
Headquartered in California, Village Enterprise works in East Africa. Village Enterprise's multi‐pronged economic development model is unusual in the microenterprise development field. The organization targets start‐up businesses in rural areas that many microfinance institutions do not reach. Village Enterprise selects local village leaders (Village Business Mentors) to provide mentoring during the first year of the new business, and to create business savings groups which provide opportunity for group-run savings and credit. Village Enterprise first provides formal training on topics such as savings, profits, record-keeping and group cooperation. Grants of $150 (or non-cash assets to start a business) are given to business groups of 3-5 people. This small sum, which does not have to be repaid, has been proven over 23 years to have a significant impact in East Africa. For more information, visit www.villageenterprise.org or e‐mail info@villageenterprise.org.

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