New Delhi, Apr 16: The Citigroup in India has joined hands with the United Nations Development Programme to micro-finance small and tiny entrepreneurs, in an attempt to build its image as a responsible corporate group of the country.
The Citigroup-UNDP initiative has forged a new alliance with NGO, Partners-in-Change, realising the fact that the business will have an increasing impact on society especially on the poor, and marginalised communities.
The initiative drives on the fact that to maximize the positive and minimize the negative impact, it is critical to engage with the business sector.
The free-wheeling effects micro-finance has had on low-income communities in the past few years, has resulted in the 'International Year of Microcredit 2005' building inclusive financial sectors and strengthening the untapped, entrepreneurial spirit of the self-employed class.
Micro-finance, which includes the provision of loans, savings, microinsurance and other financial innovations aimed at serving the poor, has revitalised this group, that was otherwise limited by poor and inefficient access to financial services.
Since 1997, Citigroup has partnered many NGOs in the area of microfinance through grant support, employee volunteerism, cause-related marketing and best-practice sharing.
The Citigroup Micro Entrepreneur Award 2005, held here recently, was a part of the Global Micro Entrepreneurship Award (GMA) programme launched by the United Nations in over 30 countries to mark the United Nations International Year of Microcredit.
In India, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN's global development network, partnered Citigroup for this year's award.
UNDP is the UN's global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life and are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges.
The Awards, acknowledged the entrepreneurial skills and exemplified the spirit of micro entrepreneurs, who have exhibited a superior ability to emerge from below the poverty line through the use of micro-credit to build self-sustaining enterprises, create employment and contribute meaningfully to their communities.
The Citigroup Foundation's grants are awarded primarily in three areas -- Financial Education, Educating the Next Generation, and Building Communities and Entrepreneurs.
Citibank is India's largest foreign bank in the FX (Foreign Exchange) market with a 14 per cent market share and has over 22 billion dollars of custody assets under management.