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Startup of the week: Meet Sou Sou

For people who can’t get a bank loan, there’s a global tradition that provides an alternative for financing: a lending circle. People regularly contribute to a fund and intermittently withdraw amounts when it’s their turn. In West Africa and the Caribbean, it’s called “sousou.”

That’s the inspiration for D.C.-based Sou Sou, a startup taking that concept — leveraging community to build a funding source — and turning it into a mainstream business to help people save money, build credit and access capital. Banks “overlook the thousands of prospective loan applicants because they do not fit into traditional credit risk profiles,” said co-founder and CEO Fonta Gilliam. “This has created a deep divide between banks, women, minorities and low-income communities.”

What is  Sou Sou, exactly? A crowd-banking platform. It’s built to give people struggling financially or with no credit (think recent college grad) an option other than a bank, investor or predatory lender.…

Read the full story from the Washington Business Journal.



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