Copyright © Grameen Bank Audio Visual Unit, 2006

Our Inspiration

In the early 1970s Muhammad Yunus was teaching economic theory to students in a university classroom in Bangladesh. But outside the campus of Chittagong University, all he saw was crushing hunger and poverty. His desire to do something to help the local citizens led to a simple but powerful gesture: Yunus loaned $27 to destitute basket weavers in a village next to his university's campus.

He could not believe the excitement the small amount of money caused. For people living on pennies a day, just a few dollars could transform their lives -- and in many cases it did. The gift was used to support and expand these very small businesses, and that helped many overcome their poverty. Much to Yunus' surprise, the basket weavers actually paid off the loans -- and on time too. He then moved from one village to the next, finding all sorts of entrepreneurial projects to fund.

It wasn't until 1983 that Yunus founded Grameen Bank, the institution that helped pioneer and spread the concept of microcredit. By the time Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, the Grameen Bank had outstanding loans to nearly 7 million poor people in 73,000 villages in Bangladesh. More important, Yunus, 71, helped create a global movement toward microlending. The Grameen model moved on to more than 100 countries worldwide and helped millions. In 2011, Yunus was named the 12th most influential entrepreneur of our time by CNN's Money Magazine.

Fuel A Fire aims to reproduce Yunus' success by sparking business and alleviating poverty in tens of millions of families over the course of only a few years. By utilizing organizations such as Kiva, Opportunity International, and Hope International, Fuel A Fire matches donor and investor objectives with entrepreneurs in the third world.

Coupled with the desire of many of the most successful entrepreneurs in leaving a legacy bigger than themselves, Fuel A Fire combines Yunus’ idea with EO principles to fan the flames of entrepreneurship globally to a previously unimagined intensity with a global impact that 20 years ago would have seemed impossible.

Our genesis is a fulfillment of the community aspect of the EO 360 vision to provide for:

  • Community
  • Business
  • Family
  • Self