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FINCA International, a leading not-for-profit microfinance organization for nearly 25 years, launched FINCA UK this week, with a little help from Gwyneth Paltrow.

Paltrow was on-hand at a special fundraising evening held in London on Tuesday, December 9, to raise awareness of FINCA UK, which aims to help alleviate poverty by supporting the provision of small loans to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs living in the developing world.

The evening raised over $100,000 for FINCA, and was followed on Wednesday by a symposium attended by representatives from major corporations – including GE, British Petroleum, Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered Bank – who are involved in microfinance projects around the world. Former UK Trade Minister Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham was the keynote of the Symposium.

FINCA lends money to women in developing countries to set up their own shops and businesses, so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living. It’s Village Banking scheme was launched by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan and actress Natalie Portman.

The launch of FINCA UK will contribute to the success of FINCA’s Global Village Banking Campaign, whose goals are to operate 100,000 Village Banks in the world’s most destitute neighborhoods by 2010, effectively reaching one million of the world’s working poor with loans and financial services giving them the tools to raise their own incomes

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