Muhammad Yunus, Micro Lender

John Van Hasselt / Corbis

Enemy of Poverty
As a professor in the economics department of Chittagong University in 1974, Yunus was shocked to witness a poor local woman — unable to get a loan from a normal bank — fall prey to a predatory lender. He determined that he could do better and, with $27 out of his own money, provided 42 townspeople with the tiniest amount of seed capital. His effort created such excitement that Yunus was inspired set up the Grameen Bank, with backing from the Bangladeshi government, in 1983.

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