The sum of $25 may not feel like a lot of money to you, but to a low-income entrepreneur in a different country, it may be a life-changing sum.
Every Friday I share one of my favourite finds of the week — a website, tool or an app that has impressed me.
My Friday Favourite this week is Kiva – Loans That Change Lives.
What is it?
Kiva is a non-profit online platform that allows you to make micro-loans (not donations) to low-income entrepreneurs in economically deprived countries.
How much does it cost?
Kiva recommends a donation of $3 for each $25 loan you make through its online platform.
Kiva – Micro-Loans That Change Lives
I’ve written before about my love for projects that can change lives in other parts of the world. For instance, GiveMeTap – Reusable Water Bottles That Funds Water Projects.
Kiva is an online platform that connects lenders with low-income entrepreneurs in economically deprived countries.
Their mission is “to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive.
It works a little like a crowdfunding site.
Kiva lists the personal stories of low-income entrepreneurs who are looking for funding to start or grow their business.
You can then lend $25 (or any amount) to your chosen entrepreneurs to help crowdfund their plans.
If the entrepreneurs meet their loan-raising goals within a set period of time, then they are granted the loan.
Kiva then works with field partners across the world to administer the loan.
Neither Kiva nor you collect interest on these loans. However, the borrowers do pay low-levels of interest to most field partners.
The money you give to Kiva is a loan, not a donation. 96.8% of the money loaned is repaid by the entrepreneurs it is loaned to.
You are then free to loan this money back to other low-income entrepreneurs who are crowd-funding their business.
The Kiva business-model is funded by voluntary donations that you make every time you loan money. 100% of these donations go to the field.
I’ve personally helped crowd-fund all manner of businesses across the world including:-
- Saidinsa, a 58-year dairy farmer in Kyrgyzstan, to help her purchase new cows.
- Matsebiso, a 35-year-old woman Lesotho, to help her purchase a bio-mass and solar-powered cookstove to replace their paraffin-powered stove
- Blanca in El Salvador, to help her to purchase stock for her shop
There is all manner of crowd-funded ideas to be found, including women, agricultural, eco-friendly and live-stock based loans.
I personally make my loans without any expectation of receiving the money back, but typically I do find that I’m repaid. I then re-loan the money to another entrepreneur.
Using Kiva is a great way to lend small sums of money that will make a big difference to people in other parts of the world.
How can I get it?
Visit Kiva, create an account and follow the instructions to make your first loan.