Grameen America: microlending, macro impact

May 1, 2024

Grameen America was founded in 2008 as a catalyst for financial accessibility and inclusion by bridging the gap between underserved women and the mainstream financial system through its unique group-lending model. Nobel Prize Winner and Grameen Bank Founder Muhammad Yunus conceived microlending as a platform where small loans can provide big opportunities for people to lift themselves out of poverty through their own entrepreneurial spirit. Grameen America focuses exclusively on low-income women in The United States and recently surpassed $4 billion invested in 190,000 entrepreneurs. 

But the microloan program is only one aspect of starting a business. Grameen America provides a wealth of resources to help further the chances for success. Services include financial education, peer support, and credit- and asset-building.

“It is capital plus community,” explains Lucas Ramirez, Chief Financial Officer, Grameen America. “A woman comes to Grameen America to network with entrepreneurs who are facing similar challenges and who want to feel that support. We're innovating that model and moving women entrepreneurs to true financial mobility by helping them build a holistic financial identity and further their entrepreneurial journey.” 

Recognizing the challenges in access, the microloan program considers candidates’ qualities beyond their financial standing, underscoring its principles of social underwriting to combat systemic obstacles. “We deliberately eliminate a lot of the barriers that many promising, low-income women entrepreneurs in underserved communities have experienced,” said Ramirez. “We rely entirely on the character of these women and their accountability, discipline, and unity.”

In the US, there are nearly 4.4 million women from Latinx, Black, and low-income backgrounds without access to capital, impeding their ability to participate in our economy and communities. Grameen America continues to see success through a growing rate of women who have established financial mobility through entrepreneurship and continue to build high credit quality, resulting in a 99.8% repayment rate within the program. 

Grameen America makes a meaningful impact beyond its entrepreneurs, who have created more than 200,000 jobs in over two dozen cities across the US, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Miami. 

Over the next 10 years, Grameen America aims to disburse a cumulative $40 billion in loan capital to over 750,000 entrepreneurs across 70 locations, marking a footprint of nearly 10 times their current disbursements. “At Grameen America, we’ve set ambitious plans to continue to broaden our reach and deepen our impact in the communities we serve,” said Ramirez. "With support from financial institutions like Mizuho, we can continue to develop innovative and comprehensive programs that are propelling the next generation of women entrepreneurs.”

In support of Grameen America’s dedication and commitment to breaking barriers and creating opportunity, Mizuho Americas recently announced its increased commitment to the organization, providing Grameen America with $5 million in debt capital as part of Mizuho’s ongoing commitment to certified U.S. Community Development Financial Institutions and financial inclusion. Mizuho’s first loan to Grameen America is dedicated to supporting the growth of the organization’s microlending program. The Mizuho USA Foundation has awarded Grameen America with grant support for the non-profit’s financial education and other community programs in past years.  

For more information on Grameen America, please visit

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