Sunday, May 17, 2009

Supporting Women Entrepreneurs a World Away

My friend Lisa has been singing the praises of Kiva for well over a year. And while I thought the concept sounded wonderful I never really did anything to contribute until March of this year.

If you are not familiar with Kiva they are kind of like a business bank for men and women in underdeveloped countries but unlike banks their loan recipients don't have to worry about interest and foreclosures.

In a nutshell, Kiva takes money ($25 increments) from people like me (and maybe you) and puts it into the hands of men and women trying to start up a business (or grow their business) so they can be self sufficient and take care of their families. They then work at paying the loan back. It's very low risk for both sides. Once they start paying the loan back, there is the option of removing the funds or resubmitting it for another business loan for someone else in need.

Part of the process is deciding who you want to loan your money too. They have a listing of entrepreneurs who share their business needs, family situation, a photo and loan repayment plans. The people donating have the option of choosing who is most affected by the $25.

Today I received an email from Kiva letting me know that the two women who I made loans to have started to pay it back. I know from personal experience, having paid back a heafty student loan, what a great feeling this is to be close to the end of a loan repayment. I am so happy and proud of these women -- Ana from Lima, Peru and Bola from Lagos State, Nigeria.

It will be a while still before the complete amount is paid back, but I plan to reinvest the money in someone else (or again with these ladies if they take out another loan).

I highly recommend you check out Kiva and join in the process of helping an entrepreneur a world away.

Topic Links
* My Kiva Lender Page

Friday, May 01, 2009

12 Seconds Is All It Takes

If you have a computer and a webcam now you can quickly and easily talk to the world:

12for12: Why 12seconds rocks on

Ok, I was being a little silly. But the members are diverse and so far I've seen nothing but a respectful community (unlike some other video oriented places that shall remain nameless).

Now it's time you took the 12 seconds plunge. :)