The Toronto International Microfinance Summit  organizers have announced that Philip Smith, successful American entrepreneur and co-author of A Billion Bootstraps: Microcredit, Barefoot Banking, and the Business Solution for Ending Poverty will speak at its Friday Gala and set the tone for the 2-day Toronto event. In its third year, the Summit brings together microfinance practitioners, business, international development agencies, NGOs and students to learn, interact and get involved. This year’s theme – From Microcredit to Financial Inclusion: Making a Difference in our World – is the focus of the signature events:
Gala – September 16 (Arcadian Court, 401 Bay Street) to raise funds for international and domestic microfinance projects and a scholarship. Reception: 6:00 pm, Dinner & Program: 7:30 pm. Silent & live auctions, entertainment.
Conference -September 17 (Allstream Centre, Exhibition Place,105 Princes’ Blvd.) features experts who address the effectiveness of microfinance as a poverty alleviation tool and provide frontline insights from around the world. A NEW MicroMarketplace will showcase products of micro-entrepreneurs. Registration: 7:30 -9:00 am, Program & Lunch: 9:00 am-5:00 pm.
“Microfinance is an effective way to deal with poverty,” says Dr. Carol Golench, President of Toronto International Microfinance Summit. “When you consider that, worldwide, in 2009 over 92 million borrowers from nearly 2,000 microfinance institutions had an average loan balance of $527USD, you realize microfinance is addressing poverty in a significant way and transforming people’s lives.”
“Microcredit enables people to become givers, not takers,” adds Philip Smith. “Microcredit should not be seen as charity but rather as the opportunity poor people need to build a decent life. Through microcredit, donors can shed the old hand-out mentality and become true partners in progress with the people of the developing world.”
Over 30 event speakers include: Bob Annibale – Citi, Joyce Lehman – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Michael Bowles – Aga Khan Foundation, Kadita (A.T.) Tshibaka – Opportunity International USA, Stéphanie Émond – FINCA Canada, Dr. Tanjina Mirza, PLAN Canada, Jeff Rayman – UEnd: Poverty Foundation, Deborah Lindholm – Foundation for Women and Gordon Crann – Rotarian Action Group for Microcredit.
Once again, The MasterCard Foundation is providing financial assistance for the first 100 students to register for the conference. Early Bird Deadline for conference tickets  is September 2nd.