Krzysztof Margol

Ashoka Fellow
Poland,
Fellow Since 1999

Citation

This profile was prepared when Krzysztof Margol was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
Krzysztof Margol is convinced that the answer to massive unemployment, one of Poland's most persistent social problems, lies in a combination of entrepreneurship training for the unemployed and funding for new ventures from the public and private sectors. Krzysztof believes that loans without training and training without loans are worth very little in the long run. Therefore, to help the rural unemployed start their own businesses, Krzysztof has initiated a new approach to community development by offering extensive training programs on how to manage a venture and obtain loans. He offers a variety of programs for people with different levels of need, and offers follow-up counseling services.
Krzysztof also generates local funds which provides financial support in the form of low-interest loans for new ventures. He believes that the only way to generate sustained private-sector interest in social reform is through micro-credit funds that involve the cooperation of local governments, banks, and businesses focused on alleviating unemployment. "What really attracts investments? People usually think of industry or natural resources. I think that it is the social awareness, involvement and cooperation of various sectors. This really brings growth and promotes the community." In weaving together these combinations, – training and funding, public and private – Krzysztof not only empowers jobless agricultural workers to become active in the new economy, but he also helps reverse the destructive self-conceptions that characterize some of Poland's rural areas.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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