G-20 SME Finance Challenge Winners Announced

By Ashokas Changemakers, PRNE
Sunday, October 31, 2010

G-20 Pledges Millions to Scale Winning Solutions

WASHINGTON, November 1, 2010 - The Group of 20 (www.changemakers.com/g20media/aboutchangemakers)
and Ashoka's Changemakers (www.changemakers.com/g20media/aboutchangemakers),
with support from the Rockefeller Foundation
(www.changemakers.com/g20media/aboutchangemakers), announced the
winners (www.changemakers.com/g20media/winners) of a cutting edge
search for the most innovative proposals to catalyze finance for the world's
most powerful economic engines: small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

"The G-20 SME Finance Challenge (www.changemakers.com/sme-finance)
surfaced some of the most innovative solutions to help SMEs attract
commercial bank and investor interest," said Bill Drayton, Ashoka's Chairman
and CEO. "This will enable millions, not just an elite few, to have the
ability and choice to play a role in local and global economies."

The winners emerged from the online G-20 SME Finance Challenge
(www.changemakers.com/g20media) - the first ever held by the G-20 to
source solutions that address a major global economic challenge - and will be
recognized for their outstanding innovations by G-20 officials at the
upcoming G-20 Summit in Seoul, South Korea November 11-12, 2010.

"Ideas are the fuel for dynamic growth in today's global economy," said
Lael Brainard, Under Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S.
Department of Treasury. "This competition has discovered promising models
that will help further unlock the enormous potential of entrepreneurs around
the world. This initiative was launched with our strong support by the G-20
Leaders at the Pittsburgh Summit, and we are pleased that it will promote new
solutions and foster SME growth."

Led by a $20 million commitment announced in June by Canadian Prime
Minister Stephen Harper, the G-20, international development banks, and
interested bilateral donors will fund and support these solutions. The
winners will also be invited to connect with donors and investors at an SME
conference in Cologne, Germany on November 15-16, 2010.

"The SME Finance Challenge has proven to be an efficient and innovative
way to identify best practice finance models for SMEs in the developing
world," said Gudrun Kopp, parliamentary state secretary at the German Federal
Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

A panel of eight distinguished judges selected the 14 competition winners
(www.changemakers.com/g20media/winners), including at least one
solution targeting each of six geographic regions: East Asia & Pacific,
Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa,
South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa:

    - Bank of the Philippine Islands
    - The European Fund for Southeast Europe
    - Entrepreneurial Finance Lab
    - Root Capital
    - Barefoot Power
    - responsAbility Social Investments
    - Capital Tool Company
    - MFX Solutions
    - Peace Dividend Trust
    - BiD Network
    - Aavishkaar
    - Equity for Africa, Ltd.
    - Medical Credit Fund
    - Grassroots Business Fund

Meet the winners at: www.changemakers.com/g20media.

"It was exciting to see the private sector's interest in the Challenge,"
said Ingrid Goodspeed, Chief Director: Financial Inclusion & Market Conduct
at the National Treasury, South Africa. "In South Africa the private sector
has committed to achieving financial inclusion targets including SME
financing. Ensuring the success of SMEs is high on the national agenda as
SMEs are seen as a major force for economic growth and employment creation."

Public voting is underway on Changemakers.com, for the three "People's
Choice Winners" from among these top 14 winners, and continues through
November 8. People's Choice Winners will be announced at the G-20 Summit.

"The Rockefeller Foundation knows that investments by government,
philanthropy and charity alone will unfortunately not be enough to solve the
world's most difficult problems," said President Judith Rodin. "It is only
through partnerships seeking out the best innovations, that will engage a
broad portion of the private sector and allow us to continue to solve the
social and environmental challenges we confront."

CONTACT: Sarah Mintz, +1-415-939-0028, smintz@ashoka.org.

Sarah Mintz, +1-415-939-0028, smintz at ashoka.org

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