Seoul, South Korea, November 12, 2010:
The Group of 20 and Ashoka's Changemakers, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, announced the winners of a cutting edge search for the best and most innovative proposals to catalyze finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) earlier this month.These winners were recognized for their outstanding innovations by G-20 officials at the closing ceremony of the G-20 Summit in Seoul, South Korea today. Among the 14 shortlisted winners is the India-based fundAavishkaar, co-founded and represented by its Founder Mr. Vineet Rai. Aavishkaar is the only winning entry from India to make it to this global challenge in 2010.Aavishkaar is a leading fund that supports micro equity investments to create scalable small entrepreneurs with significant social impact. Mr. Vineet Rai, who is in Seoul as a delegate at G-20 said, "This award has been a humbling experience for all of us at Aavishkaar. The award has showcased the innovations coming out of India to the world and will hopefully help more enterprises and rural innovations from the region to get recognized in global fora. Aavishkaar is immensely grateful for all the support we have received from our supporters around the world."
The SME Finance Challenge Award ceremony was arranged on the sidelines of the G-20 Seoul Summit, and was attended by the U.S., Canadian, and Korean leaders. President Lee Myung-bak hosted the award ceremony at the COEX Auditorium after the G-20 Leaders' Meeting. U.S. President Barak Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also attended the ceremony. President Lee, in his capacity as the current G-20 Chair, congratulated the 14 winners of the Challenge. President Obama and Prime Minister Harper also delivered their congratulatory speeches.
To scale up the winning proposals and to identify and support other innovative SME finance models, Korea, the U.S., Canada, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have agreed to launch an SME Finance Innovation Fund and committed a total of US $528 million to support the Fund. Korea is expected to participate in the steering committee of the SME Finance Innovation Fund, through which Korea can gain more knowhow on diverse and innovative solutions to SME financing.
Since many innovative SME finance solutions have emerged from the private sector through the Challenge and the winning proposals will be scaled up with support from the SME Finance Innovation Fund, it is expected that the SME Finance Challenge and the award ceremony attended by three G20 Leaders will significantly contribute to mobilizing more international support for closer cooperation between the public and private sectors to increase flow of funds to SMEs.
Following the Summit, all of the Challenge winners will be connected with donors and investors at an SME conference in Cologne, Germany on November 15-16, 2010.
Aavishkaar aims to harness the entrepreneurial spirit at the bottom of the pyramid to create inclusive economic development. We seek to empower disadvantaged and rural communities through infusion of commercial activities. Typically entrepreneurs who operate at the lower end of the economic spectrum are overlooked by financiers as they are categorized as being too small and risky.
We believe that not only do these entrepreneurs have potential to create widespread impact on local communities through boosting local production and creating livelihood opportunities but also provide attractive commercial returns. We at Aavishkaar have taken it upon ourselves to be the leaders of micro equity investments to create scalable small entrepreneurs with significant social impact. www.aavishkaar.in
About The G-20
The Group of 20 was first established in the wake of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors. Its goals were to bring stability to financial markets and to promote economic cooperation. Membership consists of advanced and emerging economies from all regions of the globe.
With the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, the G-20 was seen as the most effective forum to lead global efforts to stem the crisis and mitigate its effects. G-20 leaders gathered on three separate occasions to stabilize the financial system, coordinate national economic policies to steer the world towards recovery, ensure that the international financial institutions were provided with the right underpinnings and adequate resources, and take new steps to increase access to food, fuel and finance among the world's poorest.
Leaders agreed to meet in Canada and Korea in 2010. The G-20 Toronto Summit took place on June 26-27, and the Republic of Korea will host a G-20 Summit on November 11-12. The Canadian and Korean summits provide opportunities for the G-20 to follow through on its commitments from previous summits and take action to build a future of sustainable and balanced economic growth.
The G-20 countries include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the European Union, who is represented by the president of the European Council, the president of European Commission and the European Central Bank.
About Ashoka's Changemakers
Ashoka's Changemakers is a community of action that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other. Through its online collaborative competitions and open-source process, Changemakers.com is one of the world's most robust spaces for launching, discussing, and funding ideas to solve the world's most pressing social problems. Changemakers builds on Ashoka's three decade history and belief that we all have the ability to be a Changemaker. www.Changemakers.com
About the Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation fosters innovative solutions to many of the world's most pressing challenges, affirming its mission, since 1913, to "promote the well-being" of humanity. Today, the Foundation works to ensure that more people can tap into the benefits of globalization while strengthening resilience to its risks. Foundation initiatives include efforts to mobilize an agricultural revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa, bolster economic security for American workers, inform equitable, sustainable transportation policies in the United States, ensure access to affordable and high-quality health systems in developing countries, accelerate the impact investing industry's evolution, and develop strategies and services that help vulnerable communities cope with the impacts of climate change. For more information, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org.