Microfinance in the USA

A Panel Discussion about Domestic Microfinance


In the past few years, the model of microfinance as a technique for empowering poor entrepreneurs in developing countries has received mainstream attention. Many in the United States are intrigued with the success of microfinance and wonder "Why can't we do that here?"

Those familiar with entrepreneurs and fundraising realize that the line between personal and business finance may not always be clear. The bootstrap model, for example, generally involves some level of personal financial investment in a fledgling organization.

This dynamic is perhaps especially difficult for low income entrepreneurs. For this reason, the panel will include speakers not only from local organizations that make business loans in low income communities, but also an expert that studies the "pay day loan" industry.

This panel is presented by the Austin Microfinance Network and NetImpact, Austin.

Confirmed panel speakers as of Feb 16:

Gary Linder,
Chief Operations Officer
Accion, Texas

Suzi Sosa
Chief of Staff
MPower Labs

Don Baylor
Sr. Policy Analyst, Economic Opportunity
Center for Public Policy Priorities

Claudia Conner,
Women Business Center Director
Big Austin

Margo Weisz, Executive Director

Moderated by Kala Philo
Community Engagement Lead
Austin Microfinance Network

Video and Interactive Media Consultant
I am a video and social/multimedia communication consultant with Walkie Talkie Productions, LLC. As a long time advocate in the "social" space, my work and interests include: social entrepreneurship, social media, web strategy, web video, human centered problem solving for social challenges (see "design thinking"), community development, independent small business marketing, and all things cello. Please see my profile on LinkedIn for more information. I am the Community Engagement Lead for two new Austin social networks: The Austin Microfinance Network (find us on FaceBook!) and the Austin Social Entrepreneurs Network (currently on Ning.com). Feel free to contact me at kalaphilo@riseaustin.org for more information. http://austinsocialentrepreneursnetwork.ning.com Austin Microfinance Network on FaceBook