Muhammad Yunus (1940-) is a Bangladeshi economist and social entrepreneur. He is considered to have pioneered microcredit by founding Grameen Bank, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.
Microcredit allows poor people to receive small loans, giving them the capital necessary to rise out of poverty. In under 15 years, Grameen Bank granted loans to more than 3 million people and became the largest bank in Bangladesh, with more than 1,000 branches. Replicas of the Grameen Bank model operate in more than 100 countries worldwide.
"[Yunus'] objective was to help poor people escape from poverty by providing loans on terms suitable to them and by teaching them a few sound financial principles so they could help themselves." (Source)