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Kiva: There's Still Some Good Left in the World

You could help Ashley start her business! When we got our intial weekly assignment to blog about, I was very curious to investigate the site.  I had heard the name thrown around by some professors and each time, it was met with  many approving headnods from students.  But why, I wondered, were students so quick to give Kiva a thumbs up?  Was it because they applauded Kiva’s mission to provide micro-loans to entrepreneurs in third world countries or was it more shallow than that?  Were people so quick to commend Kiva’s efforts becaue they wanted to be viewed by their peers as an active member of society?

Regardless of their motives, I think Kiva provides a much needed service that will have an even bigger impact than investors could ever imagine.  To Americans living in such a blessed nation, an amount like $125 is not pocket change, but I’ve known friends who have spent more money on custom made jeans.  When you visit Kiva’s website and read the powerful, personal testimonies of what an impact a few dollars can have on a person’s life, you realize that Kiva exists to be more a pat-on-the-back organization. 

The numbers speak for themselves: with over 3,000 entrepreneurs funded every week through Kiva, people are catching the funding fever and donating more than ever.  When donating to Kiva’s powerful mission, you will be helping change the world, one micro-loan at a time.  Whether you decide to finance someone’s emerging business for the tax benefits or to get a a warm fuzzy feeling inside or because you genuinely want to help, the important thing is that you do it. 

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Kiva: Developing Nation Support

kiva_logo4Kiva is a website that provides loans to entrepreneurs in developing nations.  Anyone can give these people loans, and they make a huge difference for these people and their economy. Some people ask “why should i loan money to these people in developing nations when i can put it in the bank where it is safe and even make interest?”  

When you put your money in the bank or even invest it in “safe” federal bonds, you are recieving miniscule and even decimal amounts of return for your investment.  you wont “make” any money if you loan it to an entrepreneur on Kiva, but you will be making a big difference to them. A woman named Rose Atheino said “Today I’m a very respected women in the community. I have come out of the crowd of women who are looked down upon. Due to the loan that I received… you have made me to be a champion out of nobody.”  your loan makes a big difference in the life of someone who needs the money.

Kiva is not the answer for developing nations to get out of poverty, but by funding individual entrepreneurs, anyone can help make a difference in the lives of these people trying to get thier small business’ runnining.  Kiva- Loans that change lives.

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Kiva: Changing the World One Entrepreneur at a Time

Kiva has found the pain. Not only have they pinpointed the pain, but they have also found what seems to be a full proof method of helping other succeed with a money back guarentee for those that lend to the organization. kiva_logo2

Their four step program includes:

  1. Lenders browse profiles of entrepreneurs
  2. Kiva’s microfinance partners distribute the loans
  3. Over time: Entrepreneurs repay the loans
  4. Lenders get their money back and can re-loan to someone else in need

Kiva has certainly cured the pain! They have discovered a way in which they can give necessary capital to despirate entrepreneurs in third world countries, while also promising full repayment to lenders. Their indepth application process for potential entrepreneurs gives assurance to lenders that helps them know the avaliable entrepreneurs are hard workers and will re-pay all they are given.

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Kiva's business model is too good is a microloan website that allows you to loan money for entrepreneurs in developing countries.  According to the New York Times, Kiva is occasionally too popular and runs out of people that need loans.  The process of finding people and approving them to receive loans takes a lot of time.  As soon as Kiva was featured on Oprah, the site received a ton of traffic and actually ran out of entrepreneurs that needed money.  Other reasons such as Christmas gift certificates and television shows have added to the popularity of the website.  Some repeat donors are feeling guilty that they are donating money and others do not have the opportunity to give.

Tim Leberecht from CNet quotes James Surowiecki , saying that Kiva is too limited in who they accept for people receiving loans.  He says that “Businesses that can generate jobs for others are the best hope of any country trying to put a serious dent in its poverty rate.”  Kiva only approves people who are in poverty and personally need the help.  Leberecht feels that more donating options would help get rid of poverty in developing nations.  I personally agree with Leberecht and Surowiecki, and I feel that more donating options would help with Kiva’s problem of too many donors.

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Kiva Teams

Can anything new be said about Kiva?  Probably not, but not too many people seems to know or talk about Kiva Lending Teams, so let’s explore them.

The beta version for the Kiva lending teams came out in late August of this year, and now there are 5,553 teams.  The lending teams do not actually lend the money, individuals lend their own money, they can just said that this money goes towards the Australia lending team’s goals, or whatever team they choose.

Setting up teams seems a little peculiar at first, but after looking at the teams for about a minute, it made perfect sense.  Why would a team make sense when they do not make any decisions?  Well one reason is competition.

Many of the top groups are very politically charged groups, for example:  “Kiva Christians,” “Team Obama,” and “Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious.”  If you are a competitive person, like me, and you see that the Atheist group has lent more money than the Christian group, you are going to want to loan more money.

To join the Kiva Christian group and donate money was my first thought, but by the time I scrolled down to the bottom of the page I was laughing at myself.  If the Christian group loans more money than the Atheist group, does that prove anything?  No.  It’s foolish to think that for even a second.

I think that the Kiva teams encourage more loans and probably have some very functional uses, but I think that it is important to check you motives when you join one.

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