Archives for category: social return

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.

I know that we have all heard this phrase a number of times now. So what does ‘Sustainable Development’ mean? Is it about being green and improving energy efficiency or caring out your employees and the community? Does it mean planting trees or being responsible about the products one sells?

And why should one think about sustainable development? Does it translate into increasing revenues and profits? Does it help a company enter new developing markets easily by gaining the community’s confidence? Does it increase the confidence of customers and strengthens the belief of employees? Does it help save energy and improve process efficiency across the supply chain? The answer is : “It depends.”

Be it Exxon Mobil or WalMart, the two global giants, every company is thinking about sustainability today. It’s a race and nobody wants to be left behind. And yes, these organizations do think about ROI (Return on Investment) before they plunge into incorporating sustainable practices. Well, some of it is just talk but a lot of it is real substance.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a network-based organization that has pioneered the development of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting framework and is committed to its continuous improvement and application worldwide. GRI is a non-profit based out of Amsterdam and has about 80 indicators and several sector supplements as metrics for sustainability reporting and these metrics cover economic, environmental and social indicators. GRI is being used by thousands of companies worldwide for reporting.

As Acara Challenge team members and future social entrepreneurs, I think it is really important for us to ensure that we look at every aspect of our venture’s plan and see to it that all the practices of our venture are sustainable and do not harm the environment or communities, we work with, in any way. Instead, we should focus on how we can create value for every stakeholder of the venture.