2009 MIT IDEAS Competition - Microfinance Challenge

Fundraising target: $3,000
So far we have raised: $




Microfinance Symposium/Challenge


The competition

The MIT IDEAS Competition is a nationally recognized, annual competition that provides an opportunity for the MIT community to develop and pursue creative ideas that make a positive impact in the world. Participants work in teams to develop designs, plans, strategies, materials and mechanisms that benefit communities locally, nationally or internationally.  The Competition is open to everyone, but at least one third of each team must be full-time MIT students.  The Competition also enables faculty, mentors, community partners and expert judges to collaborate at different levels around these unique, hands-on projects.



For the first time in 2009, the MIT IDEAS competition will have a track specifically focused on Microfinance. This challenge track, called the Microfinance Symposium and Innovation Challenge (or the “Microfinance Challenge”), is being sponsored by the MIT Public Service Center in partnership with the MicroLoan Foundation USA, which provides microfinance services in Malawi, Zambia and the Philippines. The goal of the Microfinance Challenge is to involve the MIT community and its partners in the challenges of poverty alleviation by engaging them in thinking through and developing technology- and business-based solutions to address the key challenges confronting micro-lending in the developing world. We are seeking ideas that are innovative, practical, and most importantly – with a focus on effective implementation and delivery.  The winning student team(s) will be granted a cash prize to implement their proposals. 



Microfinance Symposium - March 9, 2009

Initial proposals Due - 15th of each month through March

Letter of Intent Due – April 2, 2009

Final Entries Due - April 15, 2009

Project Displays and Judging Session – April 27, 2009

Awards Ceremony – May 4, 2009

Winners Retreat – May 26-27, 2009



If you are interested in becoming an IDEAS entrant and looking to form student teams:

·    email ideasmicrofinance@mit.edu

·    visit http://mit.edu/ideas

·    stop by the Public Service Center at MIT

·   share ideas and learn more at the March 9th Microfinance Symposium (7:00-9:00PM, MIT Stata Center.  RSVP ideasmicrofinance@mit.edu)

·    join online discussions and find teams: www.Ned.com/groups/microfinance


If you are interested in becoming a mentor or sponsorship opportunities please email ideasmicrofinance@mit.edu. 


About the MicroLoan Foundation

The MicroLoan Foundation USA was founded in January 2008 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is supported through a partnership with the MicroLoan Foundation UK, which was founded in 2002.  The MicroLoan Foundation USA, whose motto is “empowering women through entrepreneurship,” is a traditional non-profit microfinance institution lending to poor women in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa to encourage and support entrepreneurship and self-sustainable livelihood.  Since 2002, the MicroLoan Foundation has administered over 25,000 loans and directly assisted more than 12,000 women. For more information, visit www.microloanfoundation.org.

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