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Thursday, May 13, 2010 - 19:30

Microloans for Micro-Business: Helping China's Rural Poor

Courtney McColgan, Co-founder, Wokai
Sara Jane Ho, Business Development Associate, Wokai

Yishu 8, No. 8 Langjiayuan, Jianguo Rd.
Chaoyang District, Beijing
BIS events are open to foreign passport holders only.
All BIS events are off-the-record. Photography, filming and recording are not permitted.
Membership desk open 7:00 pm for 7:30 pm lecture, no reservations necessary.
For inquiries on the day of the event, from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm, please call 137 1767 2167.


The number of people living below the poverty line in China is larger than the entire population of Russia. Enter two young American women who founded Wokai (“I Start” in Chinese) in 2007, now a media darling that is termed “the Facebook for Farmers.” With the rural population left behind in China's runaway growth, Wokai's founders identified microfinance as the only viable solution to closing the rural-urban income gap.

Wokai's online peer-to-peer fundraising portal allows individual donors to finance micro-entrepreneurs to start small businesses, with a focus on Sichuan and Inner Mongolia. Courtney McColgan and Sara Jane Ho will share insights on the microfinance landscape in China, the regulatory outlook of non-profits, and the social impact of helping people to help themselves.

Wokai co-founder Courtney McColgan works in venture capital as an investment analyst at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, where she focuses on clean technology and China. Prior to joining Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Ms. McColgan worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley. She received a B.A. in Economics and Chinese from the University of California at Berkeley.

Sara Jane Ho received a B.A. in English from Georgetown University. Prior to volunteering for Wokai in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York, she was an investment banking analyst at Perella Weinberg Partners and Morgan Stanley.