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The MasterCard Foundation enables students to explore microfinance as a catalyst for change at 5th Annual Toronto International Microfinance Summit on October 5

TORONTO, Sept. 23, 2013  – Toronto International Microfinance Summit announced today that for the fourth consecutive year The MasterCard Foundation is providing 100 college, university and senior high school students with financial assistance to attend its full day Toronto forum focusing on domestic and international microfinance.  Sponsored by Oikocredit, Alterna Savings and JVL Global Corp, the Summit brings together people with diverse backgrounds and views for dialogue and to foster critical thinking, innovation and action.

Join microfinance, development and business professionals, social innovators, government officials, entrepreneurs, academics, the media and those interested in “hand up” solutions for an important conversation.  This year, attendees will explore how microfinance has brought and can bring change to issues related to the provision of water and sanitation, women’s empowerment, local initiatives, Aboriginal Peoples and First Nations, scale and sustainability and technology.

DATE: Saturday, October 5, 2013
TIME: 8:00 am Registration & The micromarketplace open, 9:00 am – 5:30 pm Program
PLACE: Allstream Centre, 105 Princes’ Blvd (Exhibition Place), Toronto
TICKETS: $100 (Early Bird until Sept 23), $125 (after Sept 23)

“The Toronto International Microfinance Summit is an important forum for sharing lessons learned on how to increase access to financial services for low-income families,” says Ann Miles, Director, Financial Inclusion at The MasterCard Foundation. “We are proud to support students’ attendance at the Summit.”

New this year is a pre-Summit half-day Microfinance 101 course offered in collaboration with Coady International Institute to be held at OCAD University in Toronto on October 4th. All attendees will receive a certificate of participation. Application is mandatory. Financial assistance is available through The MasterCard Foundation Microfinance Scholars Program.

“Microfinance means different things to different people,” remarks Anuj Jain, Microfinance 101 course instructor and Senior Fellow, Microfinance and Development, Coady International Institute, St. Francis Xavier University.  “The discourse is moving from microfinance to financial inclusion. There are multiple ways in which microfinance is being re-designed and re-imagined.”

“Microfinance is not charity,” adds Javed Sakhawat, Toronto International Microfinance Summit Co-Vice Chair and International Microfinance Consultant.  “It is investment in people and ideas. And the ultimate goal is to help reduce poverty.”

The Honorable Bob Rae will start the day with a domestically-focused keynote entitled Why Microfinancing Matters toCanada’s First Nations. Ian Smillie will transport attendees overseas with his luncheon keynote The Lady Vanishes:Canada and the World of International Development.  Tavia Grant, Economics Reporter at The Globe and Mail will moderate the closing panel discussion. Other speakers include:  Scott Brown, VisionFund International; April Davies,; Dianne Fehr, Immigrant Access Fund of Canada; Bella Lam, Plan Canada; National Chief Betty Ann Lavallée, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples; and John McGowan, former Mobile Wallet consultant.

For TICKETS, to showcase your organization at the micromarketplace and more information,  Follow the Summit @microfinanceTO and join the conversation at #tims2013. Watch the microwalk video and check out the NEW microbookclub blog at

Toronto International Microfinance Summit is Canada’s premier event focusing on domestic and international microfinance. Founded in 2009 and incorporated as a nonprofit in 2011, the organization was inspired by the Rotarian Action Group for Microfinance and Community Development (RAGM) and Rotary District 7070 Microfinance Committee. The Summit’s signature Conference and Gala are run entirely by volunteers of diverse backgrounds and ages. Our vision is a world without poverty through microfinance. Our mission is: to educate our community on microfinance, a formidable poverty reduction tool; to create a forum for dialogue and action; and to raise profile and/or funds for organizations that make an impact through microfinance. In 2011, 40 speakers from 30 organizations on 5 continents presented at the Summit. The 2012 Toronto Microfinance Symposium was presented in collaboration withRotman School of Management, University of Toronto. In 2013, our 5th anniversary, we explore microfinance as a catalyst for social and economic change.

The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $7 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 46 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is a separate and independent entity. The policies, operations, and funding decisions of the Foundation are determined by its own Board of Directors and President and CEO. To learn more about The MasterCard Foundation, please visit

SOURCE Toronto International Microfinance Summit

 For further information:

Wendy Bodnoff
Co-chair, Marketing, Media & Public Relations
905 334 3660

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