The year's Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank, for their pioneering work in the field of microfinance, lending money to the poorest of the world's poor.
For the most part, the bulk of the money used in microlending has come from philanthropic groups.
But that is beginning to change. High-tech millionaires are providing venture capital. And mainstream investors and institutions are looking at microlending as a way to make money while doing good.