Club helps start up businesses abroad

Alfonso Fernandez, Reporter

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During their freshman year, Andrew Hojjat ‘21 and Alexandar Kostich’s ‘21 AP Human Geography class had a Rotary International sponsor arrive to discuss the organization’s microfinance projects in multiple South African countries. Rotary International is a nonprofit organization that aims towards spreading peace and solving poverty problems in countries through their business and community leaders. The two decided in the class to establish a club with the same motive, and the Microfinance club was formed.

“With our club we want to contribute to Rotary’s goal. I just want to help as many people as we possibly can,” Kostich said. “A lot of the communities or people that receive the fundraiser money are in areas where they don’t have traditional banks or just can’t get qualified for loans.” 

Microfinance is a new club that provides loans to people and small businesses who cannot receive them from banks, Kostich said. The humanitarian club constructs fundraising projects for lending money to people in need in order to provide funds for businesses and employment.

“In our club, smaller scale fundraising means funding projects that’ll range between $500 to $1,000 at the moment,” Kostich said. “Right now we are brainstorming fundraising opportunities and contacting insurance companies to cover our loans.” 

“I just want to help as many people as I possibly can”

-Alexander Kostich

The club plans to donate to a variety of groups and people, Kostich said. This includes donating to Kiva and Matching Grants: Kiva is an international non-profit organization that helps expand financial access in underserved communities, and Matching Grants, a locally based Rotary initiative group that micro lends donated money with later info about how it was used.

“When you actually loan the money through a one on one basis there is a risk of non-repayment, but we can cover risk by purchasing an insurance on a loan,” Kostich said. “Through this we want to give our members the educational experience of what it’s like to call and make this cohesive project into a reality.”

Their first meeting contained a couple of motivated students collaborating on various ideas to promote and begin fundraising, Kostich said. Hojjat and Kostich plan to double their members by promoting theirs to other charitable clubs at LT. 

“Our idea is that if were able to get people in the first meeting, then we can just direct the existing members to bring a friend,”  Hojjat said. “I think if we could get those like-minded people this would increase the size and longevity of our club, there’s a lot of people who have a lot of potential to succeed in our club.”

One of those like-minded people, Thomas Keegan ’21 is an active member in the club. The club can improve on communication because not a lot of people know what Microfinance means, he said.

 “Being able to communicate the definition of the club will improve the turnout greatly and give our mission a longer lifespan,” Keegan said.