Two weeks ago we had a call from the World affairs Council of Louisville. They were hosting a Chinese delegation, and one of their interests was microenterprise development. The World Affairs Council hoped that weâ€™d be willing to meet with the delegates while they were in town to talk about our program. Their specific interests were how we encourage an entrepreneurial spirit among disadvantaged populations and how we support disadvantaged entrepreneurs to help them achieve business success.
The delegation came yesterday afternoon, carrying their own simultaneous interpreting equipment that included earphones and microphones for everyone. The group included Yong Gang Gao,with Bagshang Bank, whose responsibilities include micro lending; Wei Li, an entrepreneur who owns a timber company and a green technology company; Wei Zhang owner 0f 60 jewelry stores throughout China; and Qiao Hong Yang, a researcher with the Institute of Economic Development at Ningxia Academy of Social Sciences. They were accompanied by State Department interpreters Diana Li and Ruby Lai. Staff of the JFCS Center for Enterprise Development, business development specialists Griffin Cottle and Dan Heffernan and training specialist Gary Liebert, talked about the different aspects of the microenterprise program â€“ training, individualized assistance, and micro lending.
The visitors primary interest was in our outreach efforts â€“ how we let potential participants know about our services and encouraged them to participate. It turned out that Mr. Gaoâ€™s bank has given about 20,000 micro loans, so it would have been nice if we had time to ask him the same question. As they were leaving, the members of the delegation thanked us, and said that what they had heard would be helpful when they returned to China. They also invited us to visit, which would be nice.