When their economy is better, people’s lives can improve. Building wealth and jobs helps societies to progress, though can often be held back because there simply isn’t any money available to finance potential businesses.
But assisting a developing country’s economy is the job of its government and business leaders, right?
Not any more – it’s time we all lent a hand.
Thanks to the internet it is now possible to join thousands of others in making tiny loans to business owners in the developing world. The loans are administered through local financial institutions (known as ‘field partners’) that are themselves playing a key role in creating stronger local business environments.
Using the website Kiva.org, this can be done quickly, easily and with loans from as little as $25.
You can select any entrepreneur or project around the world that you feel is most deserving of your money and provide the loan in just a few clicks.
Providing the loan gets funded (and most do as Kiva has a very large and generous following) repayments should then begin to be deposited back into your Kiva account once they are collected from the business owner to the agreed schedule. You might get back the full $25 (and you can’t make any profit as this is, first and foremost a charitable enterprise) but you should get most of it repaid, at which point you are free to lend it out again to other entrepreneurs.
In addition, it is possible to join with others in ‘lending teams’ and better demonstrate the impact that large numbers of people can have – there’s no real change to the process when doing this, you simply join the team with one click and then select that your micro-loans ‘count’ towards that team’s total when making them.
To get going on Kiva, simply follow these five easy steps below:
1) Sign up to Kiva through this link – it’ll only take a few minutes to set up a free account.
2) Fund your account – the minimum loan amount is $25 so you’ll need at least this much in the account to make your first micro-loan. You can use your PayPal balance, debit or credit card to make the deposit (note there may be small fees of course).
3) Join the Kindly Gesture lending team – if you do, your micro-loans will count towards the total loaned by the entire Kindly Gesture team, showing the collective impact we can have and, therefore, hopefully encouraging more people to be a part of it. Make sure that you have selected to count your loan towards the Kindly Gesture lending team total when making a loan (see below).
4) Find someone that you think deserves a loan – there are so many worthy entrepreneurs, organisations and small businesses in the developing world on the site that this should be easy. But take the time to look through and find a project that means something to you – although note that are many people loaning money on the website and most projects seem to get fully funded reasonably quickly. Perhaps pick a business owner or project in a country you have a particular relationship with, or in a field you appreciate. Or just choose at random – it’s up to you!
5) Loan your money – the minimum loan is $25.00 and Kiva also automatically adds an “Optional Donation to Kiva’s Operation Costs” but this can be removed or decreased if necessary simply by selecting from a dropdown box.
IMPORTANT – for your money to count towards the Kindly Gesture lending team total you might have to manually select for the loan to “Apply to Lending Team Kindly Gesture” when you have clicked through. It should come up automatically but please check to make sure!
You’re done! You will now be repaid over time – not quite the full amount, but almost.
And, more importantly, you will have helped out an entrepreneur in the developing world who badly needed to access the capital you have kindly provided and can grow their business, economy and society for the future.
Why not try it today, join the Kindly Gesture lending group and help build developing local economies around the world in minutes.
Please lend responsibly and exercise your own judgement before parting with any money. Kiva boasts an impressive 99.03% repayment rate on loans (as of 24/06/13) but this still does mean that some loans are not repaid; so never offer more than you can afford to lose.