Establishing the Citigroup Microentrepreneurship Awards, though leveraging Citigroup's human, intellectual and financial capital in 24 countries to build and bolster microfinance and develop an international network of Citigroup employees and leaders who are dedicated to microfinance. Citigroup will also provide local public relations expertise to support this initiative.
The following steps will be undertaken in each country selected to participate in the awards program:
- Identify local in-country nonprofit partners
- Establish country implementation teams
- Establish country Advisory Committees and Judging Committees
- Construct contest framework and establish criteria for winners
- Develop media plans
- Send applications to local MFIs for them to nominate entrepreneurs
- Define process for pre-screening nominees and judging and selecting winners
- Implement the awards ceremonies in each country
Building on the success of the Citigroup Foundation's microentrepreneurship awards programs, which were held in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, India, and the Philippines over the previous years, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the Citigroup Foundation, and the Global Student Alliance (a student network based at Harvard, Yale, Northwestern, New York University, Wharton and other universities), joined together in 2004 to promote and illustrate how microfinance strengthens the entrepreneurial spirit in impoverished communities around the world through the Global Microentrepreneurship Awards (GMA) program.
The GMA was launched as a pilot in 2004 in 8 countries (Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Mexico, Mozambique, Pakistan, and Rwanda) as one of the key events to mark the United Nations' 2005 International Year of Microcredit. The pilot engaged more than 75 students, professors, and alumni from 16 universities worldwide to celebrate micro entrepreneurship.
The success of the GMA pilot in 2004 resulted in the program's expansion in 2005 from 8 to 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. The 2005 GMA reached and exceeded its expected goals in every way by engaging the participation of more than 700 MFIs in the program, receiving nearly 4,500 applications from micro-entrepreneurs, generating more than 500 instances of news coverage, and handing out more than 300 awards around the world.
As Citigroup and the Citigroup Foundation are consistently recognized as leading global supporters of initiatives that strengthen the microfinance sector, and as the primary funder of the 2005 GMA, the Citigroup Foundation played a much larger role in the program, than it did in the 2004 pilot, not only in its financial role, but by taking on a global management role in developing, implementing and monitoring the success of this program around the world.
As the Year of Microcredit has concluded, the Citigroup Foundation is pleased to continue to support the program in 2006 as its sole funder. From this point forward the program will be called the Citigroup Microentrepreneurship Awards, and we look forward to successfully implementing the program in 24 countries in 2006.