BY Lauren Wong
UT’s Investment Banking Society is hosting a fundraiser for the Microfinance Club to help them continue lending money to startups overseas. Aaron Riccio, senior finance major, president of the UT Investment Banking Society, reached out to Victor Philaire, senior finance major, president of the Microfinance Club, in hopes of raising money for the club.
“We wanted to find a direct way to give back to the community and we figured that the Microfinance Club was a great way to do that, not only by collaborating with other clubs on campus, but also building economies,” Riccio said.
The Investment Banking Society Club has been on campus since November 2016 and was created in order to bring students interested in learning more about investment banking, private equity and venture capital together. The Microfinance Club was founded this past semester with the goal to raise capital and lend it out to young entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs overseas in underdeveloped countries.
“We select individuals who we believe are going to have the capabilities and the will to help other families in their villages.,” said Philaire said. “We are also looking for people who are growing a business and growing an economy. We are not looking for people who are just trying to buy and sell items. We are looking for someone who will help sustain these communities in the long term.”
These small micro loans they send out, in increments of $25 help sustain villages, families and these small businesses. Philaire explains that although $25 doesn’t sound like a lot to us; these loans make substantial differences in small scale economies overseas.
The Microfinance Club uses Kiva Account to send loans over the internet to people overseas that are subscribed. The Microfinance Club then looks through all the options they have of who to send it to and look at who fits their criteria.
The Microfinance Club does not interact directly with the people who are receiving loans, however, they do get to see communities begin to prosper. One family was requesting through Kiva for funds to buy seeds so that they could grow plants on their land. Once the Microfinance Club picked them and sent out the loans; the family was given a three to six-month timeline to produce results. According to Philaire, the family was able to buy enough seeds and sell what they had fast enough that they saw the results within just three to four weeks. The family is already 72 percent complete with their payments of their microloan.
“We thought it was better than just caring about yourself and your success in terms of getting into finance. This is about doing something better than that and the Microfinance Club really does help build communities… it may seem like only small loans but it really does impact people’s lives,” Riccio said.
Maria Czerwinski, a sophomore international business major is a member of the Microfinance Club and has aspirations of becoming the president this next semester. “It’s a personal thing. My brother is from a third world country, and being able to work in a club that gives back to these kinds of communities is very rewarding,” Czerwinski said. “I feel like I am benefiting something bigger than myself.”
The fundraiser will be taken place at Tijuana Flatts Tex-Mex in Hyde Park on Platt street with 20 percent of the proceeds going directly to the Microfinance club. The date of the fundraiser is Feb. 26 Monday, Feb. 26, however, it is subject to change. Details and any changes will be posted on both of the clubs Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages.
Both clubs are always open to new members from any major. In order to look into joining contact UT Investment Banking Society president Aaron Riccio, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Victor Philaire, president of the Microfinance club, email@example.com.
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