Sponsor a business, heal the world

This post is about something really cool and close to my heart - Kiva. Kiva is a social enterprise in Uganda that lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. Gives you the chance to give your contribution to the world. Your money will be invested, it won't be a one-time food package or smth. You can help an entrepreneurial individual (and their family) to get out of poverty. All this through a website.

Half the world's population lives on less than $2 a day. The poor remain poor because they cannot borrow against future earnings to invest in education, skills, new crops, and entrepreneurial activities. They are cut off from economic activity because they are deprived of many collective goods (such as property rights, public safety, and infrastructure) and lack information about market opportunities. Most of these poor people live in developing countries and are self-employed.

In almost every case, those who have businesses are doing dramatically better than those who can't get a grant or a loan to start or expand a business. Furthermore, the amount of money it takes to start or improve a business is often as little as $100. Raising the income of self-employed poor and vulnerable non-poor (those hovering just above the poverty line but lacking savings or insurance, and dangerously susceptible to sudden changes in their financial environment) strategically fights poverty.

By choosing a business on Kiva website and then lending money online to that enterprise, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make a step towards economic independence and getting out of poverty for good. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive monthly email updates that let you know about the progress being made by the small business you've sponsored. These updates include reports on loan repayment progress, photos of new capital equipment, narratives on business growth and standard of living improvements, and more. As loans are repaid, you will get your original loan money back.

The amount of money you loan can be as less as 25$! These businesses don't need a lot of money.

Its like adopting someone. Only you adopt a business. Hey - maybe one day you can even fly over and meet "your" people.

Don't know what to get your friend for his birthday? Buy a Kiva Gift Card and let him sponsor a business! (My birthday is coming up in about 2 months).

How cool is that! You can read much more about the whole thing on their website and follow their progress by checking their blog once in a while.

The people who started and run Kiva are a true inspiration for me. One beautiful excerpt from their blog:

"Jessica, my wife, and I came up with Kiva together. Kiva is a manifestation of what can happen when two people love eachother, spend every moment together, and allow imaginations to go places together that would have never been explored alone. For this reason, among others, it has been an amazing experience."

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