Have you always wanted to play the role of Oprah, Bono or “Brangelina” and visit a third-world country to provide aide to those that need it most? I, for one, have always wanted to do this. Like most people, however, there are just so many personal barriers that stand in the way of me doing so.
Now, those barriers have been collapsed thanks to advanced technologies and entrepreneurial benevolence. Kiva, a network that enables an investor (in this case, any human being) to offer loans to aspiring entrepreneurs living in poverty across the world. Upon doing so, you aren’t just changing lives, but you also become a business investor, and are guaranteed to be paid back over time.
Kiva was founded by CEO Matt Flannery and President Premal Shah in late 2006. Like me, they wanted to find a way to give back without having to go through all of the hassle of finding the right places and causes to receive the benefits. By having entrepreneur biographies listed right on the homepage of the website, they are lightening the workload, thus, making changing the world that much easier for everybody. In a way, they are also challenging all of those (including myself) to follow through on those third-world wishes I mentioned earlier.
I read about Kiva several months ago in an issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. I was blown away with the model and the success rate it produces. Apparently, 99% of all lenders are paid back (they work with micro-lending institutions for insured loans) and most beneficiaries end up finding themselves living the lives they always dreamed about.
To me, Kiva is the win-win situation the world has been waiting for.