As a (very) small business owner, I have a lot of sympathy for people struggling to make a living by owning their own business. I can't even imagine trying to do it in a country that has little or no support for aspiring entrepreneurs. I think that is why this organization struck a chord with me.
Has anyone heard of Kiva? This is a description taken from their website:
"Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world."
So essentially you donate money which goes to an individual in a country like Cambodia, Azerbijian or Bolivia to help them with purchases they feel they need to improve their business (you choose the individual by looking at their profile/story on the website). Their profile details their payment plan and the loan is repaid in the amount of time allotted. When the loan is repaid, you then re-lend to another applicant.
Sound too good to be true? Check out these statistics (also available on their website here):
|Total value of all loans made through Kiva:||$56,237,035|
|Number of Kiva Lenders:||420,850|
|Number of loans that have been funded through Kiva:||80,447|
|Percentage of Kiva loans which have been made to women entrepreneurs:||78.02%|
|Number of Kiva Field Partners (microfinance institutions Kiva partners with):||94|
|Number of countries Kiva Field Partners are located in:||43|
|Current repayment rate (all partners):||97.16%|
|Current default rate (all partners):||2.84%|
|Average loan size (This is the average amount loaned to an individual Kiva Entrepreneur. Some loans - group loans - are divided between a group of borrowers.):||$435.43|
|Average total amount loaned per Kiva Lender (includes reloaned funds):||$133.67|
|Average number of loans per Kiva Lender:||3.63|
Amazing! I was so impressed I had to share. Please check out the site when you get a chance, I think it will impress you too.
If you have any feedback or tidbits about Kiva, I'd be interested so feel free to leave a comment!