Inspired by the work of Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Muhammad Yunus, we started Five Flags Company, Inc. After 2008, so many throughout the world were suffering due to loss of jobs and homes, we felt we needed to help. Yunus’ dedication to those less fortunate moved us to action. At first, we were unsure of how to develop a company that could truly serve the needs of the people. Like Yunus, we thought that women had suffered most and they would be our principal focus.
Moved by Muhammad’s amazing story in the book, “The Price of a Dream” by David Bornstein, we decided to explore the possibilities. Marjorie Pugliese, Founder, visited Jackson Heights, Queens, where the Grameen Bank , started by Muhammad in Bangladesh, was operating with the support of Citibank. She walked a few blocks from Citibank to the office of Grameen America. On the outside of the door was a small piece of paper with the name, Grameen Bank. Across the street was what looked like a marketplace. Store fronts featured the goods that the women had created in their own businesses. Inside the building on Roosevelt Avenue was a stairway filled with women who also wanted to become entrepreneurs.
After speaking to some of the workers at the company, Marjorie learned that Grameen Bank was training and assisting those women most affected by the country’s financial struggle. Muhammad’s goal was to stop poverty throughout the world. This would happen only if the women of our country and those of every continent could develop strong, vibrant, and successful businesses. His plan was to utilize the concept of women joining other women. They supported each other, purchased goods from one another and became entrepreneurs. Today this business is a million dollar business. Once open only to women, it now works with men as well.
We determined that the need was everywhere in New York and that Grameen Bank was in every borough but Staten Island. Five Flags Company, Inc. would face this challenge.