What a great opportunity to be reminded of the courageous among us who see the opportunity to make the world a better place and step up to the challenge.
Joanna White, Chair, Opportunity International Australia
I have been very fortunate to meet several quite amazing entrepreneurs in both my career in Business Banking and my involvement, currently as Chair, with Opportunity International Australia.
The driving motivation for me across both my for-profit and for-purpose career has been the opportunity to play a role in helping others to grow, be it on a professional or personal level.
What has struck me are the similarities between the business owners and entrepreneurs I’ve met as a business banker in Australia and those I’ve met through our microfinance partners in India, the Philippines and Indonesia—while their ideas and their businesses may all be different, their motivations are similar and often focused on providing a better life for their families. The primary driver for many of the female entrepreneurs who receive small loans from Opportunity is improving education outcomes for their children.
A few years ago, I was very fortunate to meet Marie in the Philippines, who owned a small sewing shop. Through loans provided by one of Opportunity’s microfinance partners in the Philippines, Marie was first able to purchase a sewing machine for herself then grew her business to nine machines, enabling her to employ other women from her village. She was also able to support her husband’s screen-printing business, enabling him to work in the village whereas previously he’d had to work overseas. Marie was thrilled that she could support her family in this way, with her children able to go to a good school—previously Marie indicated she frequently had concerns about being able to feed her children and she often went hungry herself when funds were tight.
We are fortunate to have many Australian entrepreneurs support the work of Opportunity— effectively entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs. I believe encouraging and celebrating these contributions is worth celebrating this World Entrepreneurs Day!