The Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell (SEG) is a 501(c)(3) microfinance nonprofit located in Grinnell, Iowa, that seeks to empower individuals through microloans internationally and locally. Microfinance is the provision of small loans to individuals without adequate access to credit, generally given for activities that generate income or enhance financial stability. It is a sustainable tool for development; each loan that is lent and repaid can be used again for another individual or group.
SEG was founded in April 2007 by a group of Grinnell College students, initially with the modest goal of introducing students on campus to microlending via Kiva.org. The group quickly moved to developing direct partnerships with international microfinance organizations, the first being Centro Promocional Cristiano (CPCPV) in Nicaragua. Growing larger, the group became a non-profit, attaining 501(c)(3)-status in 2009.
In the Spring of 2010, SEG took on the Local Loans Project from the First Presbyterian Church of Grinnell, IA to offer microloans in the greater Grinnell area. This was the beginning of Emergency Loans Project. This project targets financial crises of individuals and families by providing loan recipients greater stability through zero-interest loans. Since then, SEG has developed this project from a couple of loans to a stronger, more established and more sustainable program. In the Fall of 2011, SEG founded the Entrepreneurial Loans Project, which provides resources to local entrepreneurs.
In Spring of 2015, SEG reorganized to become a community-based volunteer organization and continues to provide small zero-interest loans to those who have an emergency need. If you would like to support SEG’s work with a tax deductible contribution please donate here.