Bridging the microloan gap for farmers across the world
William Foote was an investment banker during the Latin American growth years of the early 1990s. After the peso was devalued in 1994, he spent two years in rural Mexico studying and writing about the financial crisis and its effects on rural people and the environment. He founded EcoLogic Finance (now Root Capital) to provide loans of between $25,000 and $500,000 to small and medium-sized enterprises working in sustainable agriculture and fisheries, wild-harvested products, certified wood and ecotourism. Since inception, Root Capital has made 550 loans valued at over $120 million to rural producers in Latin American, African and South Asian countries, with a 99 percent repayment rate. It has also provided financial training to 55 grassroots businesses representing 27,000 small-scale producers.