In 2005 Brendan created The Basis with the aim of providing groups of small-scale entrepreneurs with credit and equipping them with the skills required to build and expand their enterprises, create new jobs, and stimulate wealth creation and economic growth in poor communities. The Basis is a microfinance institution that engages in what Brendan refers to as “venture capitalism for the poor.” The Basis assures that its loans are used for prudent and productive asset-building purposes rather than for consumption. It acts not as a passive banker, but rather as an active venture investor. It limits the income derived from its loans to those of a fixed-income investor. The loans generated for the client organizations thus receive what Brendan calls “limited liability loans.” Repayments are drawn exclusively from the productive outputs of its investments. This shifts the primary risk from the borrower to The Basis, which gives it a strong incentive to help the loan recipients develop sound business plans and ensure that the loans are used for their intended purposes.Brendan uses a method of loaning that he labels “just-in-time credit,” which provides short-term loans to pre-evaluated recipients, while developing long-term relationships with them. The Basis provides its borrowers with the precise amounts of money that they need for specific, mutually agreed upon purposes and limits the terms of its loans to the precise periods in which the funds will be needed. This approach permits more complex investment projects to be implemented through a series of smaller loans, and it allows any single investment to be more carefully analyzed and the attendant risks to be better understood by all relevant parties. Brendan argues that by continually targeting loans to fund specific projects and planning those projects collaboratively with the loan recipients, the just-in-time credit approach provides The Basis’ borrowers with highly relevant and much-needed education and counseling in the financing and management of their enterprises.Brendan has also focused on The Basis’ work on organizations with a high degree of worker participation and on worker cooperatives in particular. (Indeed, its loan agreements are often conditional on the recipient organization’s adoption of a participatory governance model, as The Basis employs a similar decision model.) The capacity-building process outlined above was conceived of as an important vehicle to promote a culture of entrepreneurship among groups of workers in loan-recipient organizations. With several workers involved in governance and management decision-making, the number of individuals benefitting from The Basis’ training and financial coaching efforts in any given organizational setting are correspondingly increased.To facilitate the scaling up of The Basis’ work in Argentina and to facilitate its replication in other settings, Brendan has developed open source software that accurately records the credit history of each loan recipient organization and documents each of their growth processes. With this software, Brendan and his The Basis colleagues keep track of the initial diagnosis, planning, and development processes while also evaluating the impact of each loan. Brendan’s decision to make this software open source reflects both his strong commitment to transparency and accountability and his desire to make it available to any microfinance institution interested to use the just-in-time credit model.In another effort aimed at enhancing the economic growth of the worker cooperatives and other organizations that are recipients of The Basis loans, Brendan created El Mercado to help facilitate the export of their products to the U.S. and Europe and attest to their use of fair trade standards. In early 2009, The Basis also contracted with Amazon.com to expand its distribution channels. Six loan-recipient cooperatives are currently using El Mercado to sell their products internationally, and more are expected to avail themselves of that facility in the near future.Although Brendan began working with cooperatives in the Greater Buenos Aires area, he has expanded to various cities in the interior of the country. Thus far, The Basis has provided 47 organizations with 160 loans and it has doubled the number of loans provided each year since 2005. All but 2 percent of the loans that have matured have been successfully invested and repaid by the borrowers. As a result of The Basis’ work, borrowing cooperatives have been able to double their workforce and offer their employees better working conditions. For example, when Crometal, one of Brendan’s first clients, got its first loan in 2005, it had 18 employees. By 2009, Crometal reached over 40 staff. Before receiving the loans, the cooperative’s members worked many overtime shifts and had no paid vacation, but soon after, their work days got shorter and vacation time was instituted as the cooperative grew. The Basis’ “venture capitalism for the poor” is catching on. Several organizations in South Africa, Nicaragua, and even the U.S. have expressed an interest in replicating Brendan’s model. Recognizing however, that The Basis is still at an early, testing stage of development, Brendan intends to refine The Basis’ model in Argentina before spreading to other regions of the world.