After more than twenty years of lending small amounts of money to ordinary people through his Grameen bank, Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006
His extraordinary, groundbreaking work with poor people who required small loans to buy supplies to produce goods for sale - and thus provide themselves with a regular income - has come to be known as Microlending and it has inspired a number of replications online.
One such company is Prosper - a community of people, companies, businesses and lenders (anyone can wear any hat) with the express purpose of cutting out the middleman (read: bank) and allowing people to get the credit they need.
Many people on the auction-style site are seeking business start-up loans, consolidation loans to pay off high-interest credit cards or bridge financing for expansion or inventory.
Prosper has helped people with more than $12 million in loans to date and can be a valuable resource for any small business.