Many times we would like to finance worthwhile causes but the amount of money required in millions. So, we look and others who already have money are financing start up companies to make more money. Many times our interest to finance it also to finance some meaningful enterprises but what we get to finance, even when we get rich, are once again commercial interests whose aim is to make more money and nothing else.
How do you feel about lending (I say lending not donating) small amount of money to someone who wants start a small business? We probably are interested. But, is there a way to systematically do it? Now, yes there is.
www.kiva.org is provided a neat platform to micro finance. Micro finance should be familiar term with Dr. Khan of Bangladesh winning this year's Nobel prize in economics for his landmark and pioneering work in micro finance which revolutionized the lives many small time vendors in Bangladesh.
For more information, visit www.kiva.org. There you would find many simple business plans of several needy people who can put your $25 to good use to setup small businesses. www.kiva.org has done a great job of providing systematic channel to take your small contribution, pooling it up with contributions from similar minded people and then channeling the money to one or more business people via it's tie up with local financial institutions. These amounts are lent as loans and you can track how money is put to use, what is happening to the business, how far the business has returned the money and so on. Like any venture, some of the businesses you finance may fumble. That's ok as all that you lose may be $25 for a business and not more. But, on the positive side, the satisfaction you may get is something that can not be put in words. It is helping someone start making a honest living and if business does well, it may change their lives and the lives of their children for far better. You are making a difference.
This idea appealed to me tremendously. I have been big supporter of charities and donate a small amount to my favorite charities such as children international. But, what is important to many of us is to be able to see some tangible and precise way of how it is making any difference if any. Children international lets you sponsor one or more children for a monthly contribution. But, it is hard to say that your money really made a difference as the money is pooled with many big time donors and distributed to needy children. But, with kiva, you are lending money and not donating. If the person does well and returns your money, you can recycle it and lend it to some other needy person.
Hope that micro finance develops really well especially in developing countries. Small business owners there can take even a small amount such as $500 and make it really big at least for themselves.
So, what is stopping you from becoming a venture capitalist or angel investor? You can say in parties that you too are a venture capitalist :) and seriously providing capital to some meaningful venture. Is there any more meaningful venture than to help someone get a foot hold in life?
Btw, lending money is breeze with their seamless integration with PayPal. PayPal has to be commended for waiving transaction fees. So, all your money goes to the business person.
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