Chen Xihua laid several storage boxes down and began selling them near her home in Shanghai. The street vendor looked confident, as she had just received her first bank loan to support her small business.
A former worker, the 48-year-old was laid off and said she never believed small businesses like hers could get help from a bank.
However, Shanghai, the eastern Chinese metropolis, is trialing a micro-credit scheme designed to help people get self-employed.
Similar to the Grameen Bank founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, the Shanghai government's micro-credit loans range from 3,000 to 8,000 yuan (US$396 - 1,057) with a low interest rate of about one yuan per day.
Street vendor Chen Xihua received 5,000 yuan (US$661) which, for a business without walls, is enough to help her enrich her personal stocks enormously.
She said getting the money was like borrowing from the government, and was easier and less embarrassing than borrowing money from friends or relatives.
Kong Aiqun is also benefiting from the loans. Her previous home accessories start-up failed, but she was thrilled to get a 5,000-yuan loan.
She said she hopes in the future to expand her business to help more unemployed women.
(CEIEnglish.com July 12, 2007)