George Petty: Financing the Missing Middle

George Petty: Financing the Missing Middle

Venture South International’s Managing Director on funding startups in disadvantaged communities.

Whatever part of the world we live in, whatever background we have, our needs our the same, our desires are the same.

“Our clients are small and growing businesses who need additional working capital to expand,” says George Petty, Managing Director of Venture South International. The Swiss company is best thought of as a middleman lender. Operating in the niche space just below banks and just above micro-financiers, the company offers loans between $2,000 and $30,000 to various businesses looking to expand in one way or another. One client in Uganda used Venture South’s loan to purchase new vehicles and employ more staff. Another client, a baker from Bogota, Colombia, used the additional capital to buy tables, chairs, and an additional oven—thereby allowing her to quadruple her business. “It is not a business you go into to get rich, but this is the dividend you get—when you’re talking with people, getting feedback, and seeing their kids going to school, and seeing the other members of the community, that’s magic,” says Petty.


TakePart travelled to the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England, to pick the brains of the worlds biggest thinkers. These Innovators in Action are changing the face of the future with bold new ideas and profound enthusiasm. Motivated by personal experience and fueled by the hope that things can get better, these innovators—each of them true social entrepreneurs—are improving our world, one brilliant business idea at a time.

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