Tackling Poverty Through Business: London MEP Syed Kamall Launches New Initiative.

London MEP Syed Kamall has spoken about the reasons he has set up a new platform which he says is designed to tackle poverty through business.

The “friendly lending” platform has been developed in partnership with the Fredericks Foundation whose mission is to provide access to small business loans to people excluded from mainstream credit in order to create choice not charity.

It also seeks to give individuals the opportunity to transform their lives, and to build a society "based on dignity not on handouts."

Kamall, a member of the ECR group, said, "This to me is about Community Conservatism in action.The platform will allow members of the public to tackle poverty directly by contributing towards small loans which allow entrepreneurs to lift themselves out of poverty.

“Many people who are classed as in poverty want to get out of their circumstances but are prevented from doing so by a lack of access to finance. Many of the services you and I rely on are simply not available to them.”

The MEP, who is leader of the European Conservatives & Reformists (ECR) Group in the European Parliament,said, “Friendly Lending”, instead, crowdfunds loans for them. Each contributor puts in just a few pounds but combined with others, it turns into a loan which makes a real difference.

“What’s better still, is that once it has helped one person that money is paid back and goes on to help the next person. You can choose who your contribution goes to at each stage. It is far better when £50 goes to help 10 people for a lifetime, instead of just one person for a day.”

He said, "I have a passion for exploring local non-state solutions to poverty. In my spare time, I have been working with others to create a new lending platform known as 'Friendly Lending', which aggregates small loans to helps lift people of poverty by backing their business ideas.

"Existing lending platforms such as kiva.org help people in developing countries but you can't lend to budding entrepreneurs in Britain. Our new platform will change that - and we believe it will change lives too."

A source at the Fredericks Foundation describes it  as a “responsible Finance Provider that provides loans to people who want to set up a new business or maintain or expand an existing business.”

He added, “Fredericks is open to anyone who has a viable business proposition, but cannot obtain mainstream finance. Fredericks operates across England and Wales with a support team on hand to help and guide applicants all the way through the process. The support continues even after the applicant has been successful in the form of mentoring, practical business advice, networking and links within the local community that can help support and grow new and expanding businesses.”

The Foundation's mission, he said, “is to provide access to small business loans to people excluded from mainstream credit in order to create choice not charity, and to give individuals the opportunity to transform their lives, and to build a society based on dignity not on handouts.”

The aim is to alleviate poverty by “providing microfinance to enable people to achieve the dignity and self respect of supporting themselves through enterprise.”

It also seeks to work with partners and volunteers to promote and support self employment and reinforce local communities through business.”

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