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Poverty and the Internet

Poverty and the Internet

The internet, in a lot of ways, gets a bad rap. It is largely stereotyped as something that’s the main purpose is to hand out a few good laughs and help you to find the nearest Starbucks. I believe that in all the noise of the World Wide Web is it hard for people to see and utilize the internet to its full potential. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here is a quick look at a few companies that are doing the internet justice.

  1. Kiva.com

Kiva is a funding engine for impoverished entrepreneurs that are trying to dig their own way out of poverty, instead of receiving free handouts. If someone needs the capital to buy a sheep, they can apply for a microloan on Kiva. After they raise that sheep and sheer the wool, they pay back their loan at no interest. Microloans are some of the only ways for people living below the poverty line to gain access to a large sum of money all at once. Not only do these loans improve the lives of the people who receive them, but also the entire community.

  1. dosomthing.org

Dosomething.org has taken an effective modern approach to combatting poverty. You can sign up for the service and receive text messages from ‘Freddy’ asking you to get involved in humanitarian projects in your area. He may ask you to write a note for a kid with cancer, or volunteer at your local food shelter. When you complete the task you are rewarded with a scholarship entry. Not only does this motivate students to get involved, dosomthing.org also keeps you aware of projects brewing in your community.

  1. povertyusa.org

Poverty USA is an organization that educates the general public on the struggle of being poor in the U.S. They also provide resources to get you involved in the fight. There are plenty of sites that can update you on how bad things are but few that give you practical resources on how to make a difference.

I hope this sheds some light on the good that the internet is capable of.

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Poverty and the Internet

The internet, in a lot of ways, gets a bad rap. It is largely stereotyped as something that’s the main purpose is to hand out a few good laughs and help you to find the nearest Starbucks. I believe that in all the noise of the World Wide Web is it hard for people to see and utilize the internet to its full potential. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here is a quick look at a few companies that are doing the internet justice.

  1. Kiva.com

Kiva is a funding engine for impoverished entrepreneurs that are trying to dig their own way out of poverty, instead of receiving free handouts. If someone needs the capital to buy a sheep, they can apply for a microloan on Kiva. After they raise that sheep and sheer the wool, they pay back their loan at no interest. Microloans are some of the only ways for people living below the poverty line to gain access to a large sum of money all at once. Not only do these loans improve the lives of the people who receive them, but also the entire community.

  1. dosomthing.org

Dosomething.org has taken an effective modern approach to combatting poverty. You can sign up for the service and receive text messages from ‘Freddy’ asking you to get involved in humanitarian projects in your area. He may ask you to write a note for a kid with cancer, or volunteer at your local food shelter. When you complete the task you are rewarded with a scholarship entry. Not only does this motivate students to get involved, dosomthing.org also keeps you aware of projects brewing in your community.

  1. povertyusa.org

Poverty USA is an organization that educates the general public on the struggle of being poor in the U.S. They also provide resources to get you involved in the fight. There are plenty of sites that can update you on how bad things are but few that give you practical resources on how to make a difference.

I hope this sheds some light on the good that the internet is capable of.

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Become a 21st Century Patreon

We’ve all heard of a kickstarter campaign; a crowdfunding resources that allows innovative individuals to get a jump on funding their latest project. Using this method not only helps develop an interested audience but also allows them to feel involved with the creation process. Entrepreneurs are able to get funding and encouragement from these interested parties. At Patreon, crowdfunding is revolutionized to help create an open line between innovators and audiences.

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Albina

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Social Entrepreneurship is continually growing around the world as young entrepreneurs use ingenuitive solutions to fix social ills and make our world a better place. Albina Ruiz is a real life example of this.

Albina came up with an innovative way to fix the out of control problem of trash in Peru and provide jobs for unemployed Peruvians. One of the first neighborhoods that she started working with was El Cono Norte in Lima, where 1.6 million people lived and produced over 600 metric units of trash. The city had a trash disposal system, but it was ineffective and did a poor job of collecting and disposing of the trash the residents produced. Consequently, people threw their trash on the streets and filled vacant parking lots with it, creating a very disgusting and unsanitary environment. 

     Albina had the idea to help micro-entrepreneurs start a trash collecting businesses. These entrepreneurs started by going door to door, collecting people’s trash and charging a small fee for their work. The new business owners would also educate people about sanitary habits and why it is important to dispose of trash properly. Some of the entrepr

     Because of Albina’s efforts many young Peruvian women now have a job and the giant trash epidemic in Peru is being resolved.  Albina’s trash collecting businesses are now in 20 cities around Peru and Albina has been asked to come up with a national plan of trash removal for her country. Thanks to Albina’s recognition of a need and her willingness to provide a solution, many unemployed people now have jobs and the trash problem in Peru is declining. When I hear stories like Albina’s it gives me courage and inspiration to make a difference right where I am. I hope it does the same for you.eneurs made extra money by creating organic fertilizers or other products out of the trash.

You can visit Ciudad Saludable, Albina’s website here

 

 

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Crowdfunding Surprise

Before you continue reading, pause and guess how much money was raised worldwide by crowdfunding in 2012.  For real, stop and think before you continue.  I’m guessing $2.7 billion was not your guess.  This was an 81% increase from what was raised the previous year, and projections for 2013 lie around $5.1 billion.  Most of this came from North America and Europe, where I thought philanthropists were a dying breed.  Only 45% of this $2.7 billion was to be paid back to lenders in money or product.

It turns out that there are three main types of crowdfunding: donation-based, lending-based, and equity-based. Equity-based?  Yes, equity-based; it means investors receive a share of the company in exchange for funds.  Last year it was the smallest sector of crowdfunding, at a meager $116 million.  But this trend is changing.  Thanks to changing Securities and Exchange rules in the U.S., entrepreneurs will be able to more easily sell equity in their companies to non-accredited investors.

What are the applications for entrepreneurs, aside from the obvious fact that people are increasingly standing behind what they believe in with their money?  Entrepreneur Magazine reports that communities will increasingly use crowdfunding to support innovative entrepreneurs who are involved in solving complex, social problems.  These crowdfunding communities will be increasingly localized, supporting community members in their endeavors to make a difference in the area.  And finally, women stand to capture more investment dollars as investors prefer to more personally understand who they are backing; women are typically more active on social media, and more collaborative when they invest.

No matter the type of crowdfunding, no serious entrepreneur should ignore it as a viable funding option.  Thanks to modern technology, anyone can succeed with a business; the only start-up required is a dream and a little persistence.

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How Much Does a Dollar Do?

It’s hard to count all of the valiant causes I’ve had the opportunity to support over the years–from 5ks to post-disaster help, to outreach in undeveloped countries, to joining the fight for human freedom. I only wish I had the money to contribute in enough of a way as to make a difference in each and every one of these missions. What if there was a way that we could afford to contribute to all of these causes in a meaningful, yet still reasonably cost-effective way. Introducing Philanthroper.com. Begun by young visionary Mark Wilson, Philanthroper answered this dilemma. Every day, the site featured a new nonprofit from six different categories: arts, education, animals, environment, human rights, and health. Site visitors had a $1 max spending limit per day. Though this seems like an extreme limitation, the site’s $1 rule actually encouraged more philanthropic spending, since it was so reasonable and so easy, with a one-click payment system.  Additionally, the site offered free promotion to hundreds of nonprofits in all spheres of charitable work. This adaptation and reversal of Groupon’s easy, daily-deal system was brilliant, to say the least.

So if the idea is so amazing, why is this description written in the past tense? A little more than a year after its launch, Philanthroper went up for sale. Founder Mark Wilson found himself overcommitted and underfunded. Unfortunately, no one saw fit to accept the challenge and pick up the torch, so the life of this brilliant idea found itself cut short. For some reason this story saddens me. This idea had so much potential. Is there a chance to revive the vision?

 

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