In the world of Microloans two notable players have arrived Kiva and Microplace.  At first glance no reasonable distinction can be made between them, but after a little digging some differences in both “how” and “why” they function emerge.   In terms of a business model, the Flannerys founded Kiva as a non-profit internet microfinance investing site whereas MicroPlace was founded as a seller of microfinance securities.  This distinction is largely due to the Flannerys creating a startup out of their home versus the colossal backing  MicroPlace has recieved by being purchased by Ebay.  Subsequently, this leads to MicroPlace as a securites exchanger allowing investors to receive interest on their investments, unlike Kiva which offers no monetary interest (but lots of personal satisfaction).   On the same note, Kiva’s direct investment technique, whereby investors select the individual to whom they wish to partner, provides a dynamic personal aspect to microfinance investments that could essentially lead to a larger global market.  So in a very true sense even with business models with familial resemblance and the same global microfinance market, Kiva and MicroPlace fulfill two unique roles in the investment industry.  Will media present them as equals and drown out MicroPlace as overly capitalistic over Kiva’s “charitable” investment, or see Kiva as limiting the investment potential of investors to see returns in third-world nations…only time will tell.  Even still this certainty remains, both Kiva and MicroPlace have opened microfinance to the internet and to the masses, offering a healthy combination of competetion that should lead to the development, growth, and success of small businesses around the world. (Kiva vs. MicroPlace)

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