Thanksgiving: Micro-financing Entrepreneurs

photo of Frew Wube in Ethiopia

This is a post from my Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog. For me, giving back to others is part of my personal financial plan. As I have said most people that are actually able to read this are financially much better off than billions of other people today. At least they have the potential to be if they don’t chose to live beyond their means. Here are some of the ways I give back to others.

Kiva is a wonderful organization and particularly well suited to discuss because they do a great job of using the internet to make the experience rewarding for people looking to help – as I have mentioned before: Helping Capitalism. One of my goals for this blog is to increase the number of readers participating in Kiva – see current Curious Cat Kivans. I have also created a lending team on Kiva. Kiva added a feature that allows people to connect online. When you make a loan you may link you loan to a group.

I actually give more to Trickle Up (even though I write about Kiva much more). I have been giving to them for a long time. They appeal to my same desire to help people help themselves. I believe in the power of capitalism and people to provide long term increases in standards of living. I love the idea of providing support that grows over time. I like investing and reaping the rewards myself later (with investment I make for myself). But I also like to do that with my gifts. I would like to be able to provide opportunities to many people and have many of them take advantage of that to build a better life for themselves, their families and their children.

The photo shows Frew Wube, Haimanot and Melkan (brother and two sisters), an entrepreneur that received a grant from Trickle up. Trickle Up provides grants to entrepreneur, similar to micro loans, except the entrepreneur does not have to pay back the grant. They are able to use the full funds to invest in their business and use all the income they are able to generate to increase their standard of living and re-invest in the business.

Haimanot and Melkan quickly learned the ropes of the job and started working with their brother in the business. Soon, the two girls managed the clothing business on their own, and Frew began to think about other income-generating opportunities.

“I also save every month,” says Frew, who has over $40 stored in a cooperative savings fund. The capital he has saved with other people in his group is used to provide loans to group members at a low interest rate. Frew, now able to access credit thanks to his Trickle Up clothing business, has taken progressively larger loans from the group, including his latest loan of $300 to start a candle business.

The ability to think of the opportunity my donation or loan is providing someone else is one way to put up with the silly annoyances of working. It is easier to shrug off pointy haired boss behavior: my job allows me to provide help to a significant number of people.

Some other charities I donate to and support: Habitat for Humanity, World Wildlife Fund, Concord Coalition, Public Library of Science and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Please consider donating to a charity instead of buying more stuff this holiday season. If you lend through Kiva, add a comment with a link to your Kiva page and I will add you to the page. Kiva offers gift certificates.

Related: Millennium Development GoalsMicro-financing EntrepreneursNepalese Entrepreneur SuccessBuy Less Stuff

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3 Responses to Thanksgiving: Micro-financing Entrepreneurs

  1. Jason Yip says:

    What do you think about the effectiveness of requiring the entrepreneur to pay back vs giving charity but to entrepreneurs?

    The focus on entrepreneurs makes sense because presumably their impact will spread throughout that society. I wonder though if it’s quite important to loan and not to just give.

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