1034. Peter Ryan
Peter Ryan, from London, is the founder of ‘MicroLoan Foundation’, an organisation providing business training, mentoring and small business start-up loans to women in rural villages across Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Peter was inspired to set up the organisation in 2002 following a trip to Malawi where he was astounded by the level of poverty in the country and discovered that 70 per cent of people living in poverty are women. Under his leadership £25 million has now been distributed helping over 150,000 women to develop the skills and tools they need to start small businesses and ensure they have adequate food, housing, healthcare and education. Pete received DFID’s ‘Pathways from Poverty’ funding to establish a project in Malawi which is helping 1,500 female entrepreneurs to create agricultural projects.
In a personal letter to Peter, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Thanks to your innovative work founding the ‘MicroLoan Foundation’, hundreds of thousands of women are benefitting from life-changing start up loans. I wish you every success as you continue to build on this remarkable achievement of helping women living in rural villages across Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.”
“I am very touched and humbled to receive this reward. I accept it on behalf of all our staff, volunteers and countless donors – both large and small – who have supported our work to help thousands of poor women in rural Africa set up self-sustainable businesses, the profits of which help them look after their families. Their outstanding success and smiling healthy faces of the children is the measure of our fulfilment.
“We started with no significant finances but merely a desire to ‘do good’. With small steps and further expansion I am confident we can continue to help many more people.”