About Us History
Opportunity International was one of the first non-profit organizations to recognize small-scale entrepreneurs as big change agents in overcoming global poverty. Today, aspiring entrepreneurs in 24 countries use our microfinance services to start or expand a business, develop a steady income, provide for their families and create jobs for their neighbours.
Opportunity International was founded by two visionary leaders, Al Whittaker and David Bussau, who were moved to respond to the hunger and poverty afflicting people around the world. On different continents, they each sought a solution that would transform people's lives without creating dependency. Later, their organizations, united by this common goal, merged to form Opportunity International.
1971– While travelling in the developing world, Al Whittaker asked a group of locals, "What do you need?" They answered, "We need work. With jobs, we will solve our own problems." Whittaker acted on that answer and founded a microlending program in Latin America in 1971.
1976 – David Bussau, an Australian entrepreneur, founded a similar job creation program in Indonesia which later expanded throughout Asia.
1984 - Opportunity International loans worldwide exceed $1 million in one year.
1988 – The two organizations officially merged and Opportunity International was born.
1998 - Opportunity International Canada is formed.
2016 – Opportunity now serves 14.3 million people in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America with a wide range of financial services and business training.