At one time if you were to ask me about microfinance, I might have thought you were referring to the lack of money I have saved so far in my life. Today this micro financing concept was redefined to me while discovering the site http://www.kiva.org and I thought it worth mentioning this to all you bad asses out there.
Kiva is a non profit organization that is revolutionizing the concept of true microfinance through utilizing modern technology. The site allows for developing world entrepreneurs to receive funding from anywhere in the world through private donations and negotiable credit terms. So far there has only been a .2% default rate (apparently these entrepreneurs/lenders know something our sub prime friends missed out on) and $14 million from 144,000 lenders have been transferred through their network. It is a damn cool concept, and has been made so convenient through online social networking and mobile technology.
Personally, it breaks my heart to see the poverty everyday here in Hyderabad while riding in my Tata Indica to work, especially the same children day in and day out. Although I would like to give every homeless person something to help them out, it is an impossible endeavor for someone like myself who has no income. Further more, if I decided to give 100 rupees to someone, then I would be expected by the other hundreds of poor people to also give them money, and it just gets more depressing.
However, being a young entrepreneur who someone has taken a chance on, I can personally relate to the poor hard working, ambitious people on Kiva.com who are asking for seed capital for businesses. The required loans are usually under $1,000, and can be donated/lended by several people in collaboration. The process Kiva has set up for the loan transaction gives the lender peace of mind that the money they contributed went to specific use, monitored by a local financial institution in the developing-world nation. And for a person like myself who has every intention in returning the favor my investor gave me to another young visionary if and when I have the means to, this site makes it possible for me to start today with just $50.
Unfortunately Kiva does not appear to have a local field partner in Hyderabad, otherwise I would have Satyam on the site, with an avatar like the picture below except with his beaming smile next to the famous little white Tata Indica, and his written dream of being able to self support his growing family and bounce back from the hardships live has thrown at him. Perhaps we can start with this blog…. If/when I can get Satyam on Kiva.com, how many of the bad asses would contribute to the cause? (Remember, it is not a donation, it is a loan managed through Kiva and a local field partner)
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