The Peter J. Tobin College of Business is proud to announce that Global Loan Opportunities for Budding Entrepreneurs (GLOBE), an academic microlending program, enters its second decade this year with an expansion into a seventh partner country.
Founded in the spring of 2009, GLOBE was conceived with St. John’s University’s Catholic and Vincentian values in mind. Its student-crafted mission is to “contribute to the alleviation of poverty within our lifetimes, starting here at St. John’s.”
By providing microloans to budding entrepreneurs in the developing world—many of whom are women—GLOBE helps families out of poverty through the dignified route of microcredit, breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Students who participate in GLOBE are educated about the world of microfinance, and manage all of the program’s functions, from vetting loan applications and recommending loan terms to marketing, fundraising, social media management, and program auditing. The Vincentian Daughters of Charity, who are dedicated to serving the poor, assist these efforts as GLOBE’s partners in the field.
To date, 408 GLOBE graduates have funded more than 180 donation-sourced loans and raised more than $200,000, providing needed capital to start and grow businesses. To receive a microloan, applicants must describe their business purpose and detail the expenses that the loan would fund. An individual loan can be as little as $50 and as much as $1,000 for a first-time borrower. Several successful borrowers go on to take out a second or even third loan of up to $2,000, expanding their businesses and often offering jobs to others in their communities. Business entrepreneurs funded by GLOBE microloans include bakers and cooks, shopkeepers, artisans, farmers, and seamstresses.
Filipino farmers called GLOBE students their “American Idols,” and a seamstress in Nigeria expressed her gratitude to GLOBE for helping her fund her children’s education. A Nicaraguan borrower who opened a small shop selling stationery and school supplies explained how GLOBE brought her family closer together, with her husband designing cards for her shop and her parents caring for her children while she worked in her store.
Students applying to GLOBE must demonstrate a strong record of academic achievement, an understanding of the global business environment, and an expressed interest in microfinance and social entrepreneurship. Competitive fellowships allow selected students to travel to the field, witnessing the impact that their work has had in changing people’s lives one loan at a time.
“It is really incredible to see, firsthand, how much of an impact the work we do has in our borrowers’ lives, and how far it really goes,” said GLOBE Fellow, Catherine Sims.
GLOBE Founder and Director, Linda M. Sama, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Global Initiatives, Executive Director of the Center for Global Business Stewardship, and the Joseph F. Adams Professor of Management, recently returned from Guatemala with four GLOBE student fellows. The group assisted families recovering from the ravages of Volcán de Fuego (“Volcano of Fire”), which erupted in June 2018, killing hundreds of people and forcing thousands to flee their homes. Six new loan applications were completed, promising steady income for these new GLOBE borrowers.
As a recognition of its embodiment of St. John’s University’s Catholic and Vincentian values in its work, GLOBE received the University’s Spirit of Service Award in November of 2018.