The scheme inspired by the Grameen system of microcredit lending in Bangladesh, which was created by GCU Emeritus Chancellor and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, aims to alleviate economic, health and social inequalities in deprived communities by offering financial support to people to help start or develop their own business.
Figures show the initiative has lent £1,012,195 to 427 clients in the city over the past three-and-a-half years.
Plans have now been developed to extend the system, which has helped lift millions of people out of poverty worldwide, to Dundee and North Ayrshire.
The UK venture, the first Grameen-style scheme in Western Europe, was launched in Glasgow in 2014 and is backed by a number of funders including Tesco Bank, which provided £500,000 of initial operating and lending capital.
Borrowers are not required to provide collateral or a credit history and can access small loans for business development to help generate further income and improve their overall wellbeing.
Professor Pamela Gillies, GCU Principal and Vice-Chancellor and a founding director, said: “The success of Grameen in Glasgow demonstrates that micro-credit and community banking can make an important contribution to improving not just the economic and social well-being but also the health of those who have the very least in society.
“I am delighted that other Scottish cities may benefit from this initiative which aims to contribute toward addressing the deep-rooted economic and social inequalities and persistent poverty which affects so many individuals, families and communities in our country.”
Kevin Cadman, chief executive of Grameen in the UK, said: “We can report 100% of those supported are financially better off but, most importantly, their wellbeing and health have shown dramatic improvements through being part of the programme.”
Grameen in the UK recently received £70,000 in funding from the Scottish Government for operational costs, and a further £75,000 in loan capital from Social Investment Scotland, which has now committed £250,000 to the initiative.
Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance MSP said: “We are delighted to provide support to strengthen Grameen’s existing operations in Scotland and help them expand into new areas.
“Making micro-credit available to even more entrepreneurs provides an ideal alternative for those not able to access traditional credit. It provides support to people to make their business ambitions a reality and help themselves and their communities.”
Benny Higgins, Chief Executive Officer, Tesco Bank, said; “It’s fantastic to see Grameen reach this landmark.
“We invested in Grameen as we believed in the change it could bring to our local communities, supporting people to better their earning potential by either starting or improving their own small business.”
Grameen client Jim Morrison is the managing director of Case-It Scotland, in Parkhead, which designs and manufactures specialist flight cases for valuable equipment. Clients include football clubs, television production companies, pipe bands, and medical suppliers. He is onto his third business development loan.
He said: “Grameen were very easy to deal with and a lot quicker and more understanding than a high-street bank would have been. The business is growing and it’s great to have the support of Grameen behind me.”