Spes Nova, meaning “New Hope” in Latin, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to help establish sustainable and inclusive development in the poorest regions of the world by collaborating with an extensive global network of academic institutions. The organization is built upon its proprietary Three Pillar Approach to economic development: market development, micro-credit, and micro-insurance.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a life time. --- Chinese Proverb
In the context of our work, this could be rewritten as:
Give a person food and they’ll feed their family today. Provide them capital and market access to successfully start a business and they’ll employ their village for years to come.
While donations and aid are both welcomed and needed in undeserved communities, sustained and scalable improvements in income and living-standards require new approaches to development that instill dignity and independence. For the past four decades, the micro-finance movement has sought to provide a solution, yet it has suffered several shortcomings:
- it’s expensive (traditional micro-finance institutions (MFIs) charge interest rates of 25-40% or more)
- the MFIs can lose their way, extending loans for consumer consumption (rather than purely focusing on creating employment and business opportunities), and
- the most successful entrepreneurs can become victims of their own success (outstripping the ability of their local communities to absorb their products or services).
Spes Nova’s model has been carefully crafted by leading economists and development experts to create a new form of micro-finance that addresses these pitfalls. Through our network of reputable, mission-driven universities around the world, we identify and build relationships with artisans in low-income areas. We are able to strengthen these artisans’ businesses by providing low-cost loans, assistance in product design, and access to new markets, which in turn provides sustainable employment and income for the artisans, their families, and their communities.