Look at poverty differently and you’ll see grassroots entrepreneurs, full of energy and ideas. Hand in Hand helps turn their skills and potential into jobs. They discover a way up and out of poverty. Since 2003 the Hand in Hand network has worked in 14 countries, generating more than 2.7 million jobs. We’ve trained more than 1.8 million entrepreneurs and helped them start and grow more than 1.8 million businesses, providing more than US $340 million in loans. Our entrepreneurs have transformed 10.2 million lives for the better.
Job Creation Model
Group savings and skills training aren’t rare. Nor, for that matter, is microfinance. But where other organizations focus on one or two of these elements, Hand in Hand combines all three – then adds a fourth by connecting entrepreneurs to larger markets. Our model is efficient and cost-effective. Network-wide, we nurture the creation of more than 1,000 jobs a day, seven days a week. That’s more than 350,000 jobs a year.
We work in four key stages:
1. Setting up groups
First we create Self-Help Groups, typically made up of women, who support each other, save together and learn together. Contributions to group savings funds are required from all 20 or so members at every weekly meeting.
2. Business training
Once a group is stable, with its savings fund firmly in place, we train members to discover and develop small businesses with modules in basic bookkeeping, business development, marketing and more. Illiterate and innumerate members are trained using pictures, parables and songs.
3. Access to credit
Group savings funds help finance most new Hand in Hand businesses. But when members need more than they can borrow internally, we train them in credit management and provide access to microloans, typically worth about US $100, funded by us or a partner. The average repayment rate network-wide is comfortably above 99 percent.
4. Links to larger markets
Finally, we help established Hand in Hand entrepreneurs compete – and thrive – by finding larger markets, sourcing cheaper supplies and improving their branding, packaging and more. Scaling up helps entrepreneurs provide for their families and benefits their communities.
Hand in Hand International is based on Baker Street in central London. Our 15 UK staff work in close collaboration with our partners in the Hand in Hand network. Hand in Hand International provides strategic advice and program support to implementing Hand in Hand offices in India, Kenya and Afghanistan. We are also responsible for raising funds to help finance the work of the network, for negotiating agreements with donors and for monitoring and reporting back on performance and results.