Microfinance club aids small business

Club gives $1000 grant to help with impact of COVID-19


Club members hold up flyers showing details of club (photo courtesy of Hojjat).

Rory Quealy, Reporter

Coming from a family supported by a small business, Microfinance Club president Andrew Hojjat ‘21 is able to relate to the risks people take in starting a business to improve their well-being. 

[It] has led me to understand the challenges of operating a small business and the tremendous amount of work and planning needed to make [it] successful,” Hojjat said. 

As a result, Hojjat along with friend Alex Kostich ‘21 started Microfinance Club to fundraise money and help small businesses through loans and grants, which has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Because the pandemic has affected the economy, small businesses are facing some of the toughest times they ever have,” club treasurer Daniel Kiely ‘21 said. “I think it’s always very important to support small business because it is a vital part of the economy and microfinance is definitely one of the best ways to do that.”

So far, they have given a $1,000 grant to a small interior design business in Countryside, Hojjat said. They fundraised the money by asking friends, family and companies in the community for donations. The Microfinance Club then donated the money to a large microlending non-profit called Accion Chicago, who were able to microlend–loaning small amounts of money at a low interest rate–to the interior design business. 

There’s a lot of ways you can help people: there’s charity and forms of service, but what stood out to us was this idea of being sustainable when you help somebody,” Hojjat said. “You’re not just helping them one single time, but over time, it’s something that helps them learn financial literacy too.” 

The club plans to continue microlending to small businesses and are planning fundraisers including a virtual FIFA soccer tournament in the spring, Kiely said. 

Our plan would be that moving forward juniors would step up and take the leading positions and hopefully [Microfinance Club] would continue on for a long time, and, in theory, would grow even bigger,” Kiley said. “That really feels good to make a lasting impact on the future.”

Microfinance Club meets through Zoom on Mondays at 3:30 p.m. and always welcomes new members.