National Traveller MABS have joined with an US based microfinance company called Lending4Change.

Lending4 Change supports people who wish to start their own business by providing training and organising business loans. Lending4change hope to establish a pilot in Ireland and would like to involve the Traveller Community


National Traveller MABS works to ensure access to all financial services for Travellers. Part of this work involves looking at ways to establish financial projects that are tailor made to meet the needs of the Traveller Community.

National Traveller MABS have joined with an US based microfinance company called Lending4Change. Lending4 Change supports people who wish to start their own business by providing training and organising business loans. Lending4change hope to establish a pilot in Ireland and would like to involve the Traveller Community.The pilot is aimed at anyone or group with a business idea which they would like to progress or indeed anyone with an existing business who feels they would like support in developing the business more.

Lending for change will support each person or group with their business idea by providing:

  • Training on starting up your own business
  • A mentor to help and support you
  • Access to a loan to enable your business at the end of the training

There is no cost to the participant for training and it is open to everyone to apply.


Lending4Change, a US based microfinance/micro-enterprise company has joined with a number  of partners including National Traveller MABS with a view to establishing a pilot Micro enterprise project  ( start your own business) with access to micro-finance in Ireland.

What is Lending4Change?

Lending4Change was established in Los Angeles in 2005 as a means of providing micro-finance seed capital to micro-enterprises engaged in social business, i.e. providing access to business loans and training to people excluded from mainstream financial institutions. It recognised the need for a Grameen style bank but remodelled to included available technology. The aim was to create social businesses that help solve pressing social issues through enterprise.

How can Lending4Change help an entrepreneur?

Currently Lending4Change works in LA with individuals (entrepreneurs) with business ideas. Many of the entrepreneurs have been homeless. Stories about many participants can be seen on the Lending4 Change website  Investing in potential entrepreneurs who have been excluded from society and from mainstream credit helps provide jobs and engage those traditionally excluded in a process of finding new opportunities to improve their social well-being and economic health.
Lending4Change brings together a network of support and expertise to the potential entrepreneur and oversees the progress and development of such supports. Supports include business training, technical training, mentoring, and loan opportunities. Supports come from a number of areas and are managed by Lending4Change.

How does Lending4 Change operate?

There are a number of essential support groups/ individuals which Lending4Change puts in place for the entrepreneur . Lending4Change oversees the support structures in order to ensure the success of the entrepreneur in this model of social innovation .Lending4Change - Facilitates and supports the entrepreneur by bringing together all support systems, providing  train the trainers courses for trainers who will deliver  “micro finance programme/start your own Business course” to the entrepreneur.

  • The Host Organisation:
    Identifies potential entrepreneurs and works with Lending4Change to support the entrepreneurs and ensure all supports are in place
  • The Mentor / Consultant:
    Experts in the business field who provide mentoring and coaching to the new entrepreneur.
  • The Guarantor:
    Guarantees loan from the credit union or credit institution
  • The Lender:
    Lends to the entrepreneur ( generally credit union or private investor)
  • The Student volunteer:
    Provides technical support and assistance to the entrepreneur during the educational phase of the program
  • Website advertisement:
    Lending4Change provides the entrepreneur with an online storefront to promote and sell their product or services.

Could Lending4Change benefit members of the Traveller Community?

Having studied the Lending4 Change model, National Traveller MABS believe the model could play a key role in promoting the development of legitimate business opportunities for members of the Traveller community in Ireland.

The terminology used is that of National Traveller MABS. Not all supports may be needed, and some may overlap as examples below will indicate:

  • In Ireland this would be NTMABS, The Simon Community, Cluid, SICCDA. The volunteer mentor/consultant is an expert in the field of business.
  • The guarantor guarantees the business loan (most likely this loan will be from the credit union). The guarantor could also be a mentor.
  • It is envisaged that the lender in Ireland will be the credit union and they will require a guarantor. However not all lenders require that a guarantor is in place. A private lender could also be a mentor. LA volunteer third level students provide this support. It is anticipated that in Ireland this will be provided by Trinity students.

NTMABS are aware of the possible limitations for potential entrepreneurs in participating in this pilot

  • Welfare loss of benefits, particularly secondary benefits
  • Mistrust of  mainstream economy
  • Literacy difficulties/ IT skills
  • Fear of paperwork/ tax system /self employed revenue requirements

National Traveller MABS will do its utmost to support potential entrepreneurs in deciding if this pilot micro enterprise project is suitable to their needs

  • We will work with individuals prior to the project commencing to ensure those participating in the project will not result in a loss of income.
  • The project will provide training in all aspects of starting up your own business and will take into account literacy difficulties.  Support will also be made available from students of Trinity College, Dublin during the training period. This support will be in the area of material development and IT.

Lending4 Change entrepreneur Training programme

The timetable for the Social Enterprise Zone weekly Curriculum (Start your own business) training programme follows. This programme is operated in the US but may be changed to suit the needs of Irish entrepreneurial participants.  The programme will take place for four hours on 1 day a week or 2 two hour days a week , and will run for approximately 10-12 weeks, with follow-up sessions. During this time, participating entrepreneurs will

  • Develop their business ideas
  • Link in with their mentor and develop their business plan
  • Prepare to borrow seed capital

After training?

  • Successful participants will be supported in borrowing seed capital for their business
  • Successful participants will have the ongoing support of Lending4Change and its partners
  • Successful participants will be provided with a website storefront to promote and sell their products and services

For more information on this project please

Contact Nuala at National Traveller MABS   01 8648510 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the lending4 change

*All queries will be dealt with in confidence.


 Start your own Business Training

Week 1

  • Introduce process and participant’s responsibility, exploring business opportunities
  • Getting What You Want Workshop Part 1

Week 2

  • Getting What You Want Workshop Part 2
  • Mission, Vision, Goals and Objectives, Elements of the Plan

Week 3

  • Developing the business overview, the Elevator Pitch, identifying the target market and defining the product
  • Understanding Competition and Selling

Week 4

  • The Market, doing a Marketplace Analysis, and hot to get the word out
  • Promotion and advertising

Week 5

  • Operational Strategy
  • Operational Strategy Workshop

Week 6

  • Introduction to Business Finance/Understanding Credit
  • Finance workshop

Week 7

  • Income and Expense Statements Creating a financial projection/ Writing the financial plan
  • Finance Workshop

Week 8

  • Legal Requirements to start a business
  • Legal Workshop

Week 9

  • Writing the Business Plan Executive Summary
  • Executive Summary Workshop

Week 10

  • Developing and Writing the Marketing Strategy Plan and Operational Strategies
  • Marketing Workshop

Week 11

  • Reviewing and pitching the Business Plans and the responsibilities of credit
  • Final Workshop

Weeks 12 To 14

Finalizing the Business Plan and establishing lending documents and information for qualified borrowers to be placed on Lending4Change/Pepperdine online location. Weekly discussions continue around challenges and launches/ reinforcing financial responsibilities and finalization of plans where necessary

Week 16 To 20

Lending process commences with bi-weekly repayment meetings and immediate business issue discussions

Please click on link for more information on self employed

Published: 12 July 2013