Microfinance is a great tool for helping poor people climb into the middle class, as Nobel Prize winner Muhummad Yunus has shown. I’ve learned that as well from my daughter Sarah, who works at an NGO called Trickle Up that makes small grants to help people start businesses in Africa and India. But to scale up, entrepreneurs need skills, financing and networks.
Enter Goldman Sachs. The thriving investment bank ($11.6 billion in profits last year) last week announced an initiative called 10,000 Women to provide business and management education to women in emerging markets. Goldmanâ€™s people will offer advice and mentoring to the women as well. And, presumably, Goldman will be ready to help finance the most successful of them as their companies grow. The 10,000 Women project is the subject of todayâ€™s Sustainability column.
Hereâ€™s how it begins:
Women hold up half the sky.
That’s a Chinese proverb favored by Chairman Mao. It’s also the title of a new Goldman Sachs research report that argues that women, in rich and poor countries alike, aren’t getting due credit for their contributions – that gender gaps persist in education, healthcare, work, wages and political power.
Goldman Sachs is promising to do what it can to rectify that imbalance. The investment bank last week announced a $100 million global initiative, the biggest in its history, called “10,000 Women.” The effort is aimed at providing at least that many women, mostly in emerging markets, with an education in business and management.
Ordinarily, Iâ€™m not a fan of corporate philanthropy. Often, itâ€™s little more than a company or worse, its top executives, taking credit for giving away shareholder money. But this project struck me as worth the attention because, if it works, it will be good for women, good for the global economy, and good for Goldman and its shareholders. Itâ€™s strategic, as all corporate giving should be. You can read the rest of the column here.