Have you heard of Kiva? If you haven’t, you are seriously missing something! Particularly if you are interested in social entrepreneurship. Kiva is not just a very successful example of peer-to-peer lending but a story of global social change. Till date, Kiva has disbursed more than a hundred million dollars in capital to about three hundred thousand entrepreneurs in roughly 200 countries around the world. Despite the on and off controversies that Kiva has fallen into, it has managed to not just continue to grow but the capital being channeled through Kiva has continued to increase every week.
So what makes Kiva so successful? Is it because people are more prone to lending than donating or it because its people helping people (vs than people helping organizations)? Is it the easy and intuitive online experience that Kiva provides or the credible nature of Kiva and its field partners? Is it about the stories that Kiva is able to put together which really inspire the haves to support the have-nots? Well, these are not just questions I am interested in but Kiva is slowly becoming a case study around the world. Be it SSIR or NextBillion, everyone’s talking about Kiva.
On Kiva, anyone and everyone who is interested in helping entrepreneurs can participate in micro-lending and support small businesses in the developing world. You can lend as an individual or as a group. You can track how your money is helping the entrepreneur that it reached and receive regular updates about his progress from the field. Not just Kiva has maintained a very low default rate, it has been able to scale drastically.
As a supporter of young student changemakers and entrepreneurs, what can we learn from Acara? That working capital can change the lives of people. That a lot of people are entrepreneurial by nature and given the chance of rise up the economic ladder, people work hard and earn smartly. That people who can, want to help those who are under-privileged, specially when it’s just about lending.
What I love the most about Kiva is its tag line – “Loans that change lives”. Simple, articulate and straight-forward. You can read ieteresting facts about Kiva here. It was indeed an idea whose tome had come.