Kudos to Kiva

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If you aren’t familiar with KIVA, as an inspired, or aspiring, entrepreneur, do get to know this exciting example of social entrepreneurship.. Kiva.org is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to entrepreneurs around the globe. Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. 

 

Since inception in 2005, Kiva has primarily connected lenders with entrepreneurs from derdeveloping countries. 

The organization just launched an expansion program to offer loans to entrepreneurs in the US. The negative reaction of many US lenders shocked me.Some individuals who make micro loans through KIVA are making comments such as “the needs can’t truly compare to those in the Sudan, Cambodia, or Peru.”, that their loans should “help individuals whose business needs are much closer to the line of “basic necessities of life” or “Micro-loans work best where the problem is access to credit, which is not America’s problem” and “social services here are so much better than they are in developing countries.”.

Do the individuals who are making these statements not know about the working poor in this country, that we have thousands of single, working mothers living in their cars because even a full time job isn’t enough to pay rent and feed their children? Do they not know that in order to “have access to credit”  a borrower must appear to not need it and have a personal balance sheet that shows more assets than liabilities? That the point is to enable the working poor to be self sufficient and not depend on social services? 

I am a supporter of Kiva and a lend to entrepreneurs in developing countries,but I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to help our own aspiring entrepreneurs launch their small business. 

With the mass layoffs in recent months, why would anyone want to see an increase in social service claims rather than help our own citizens to be self sufficient?  The purpose of micro lending is to enable people to help themselves. Kiva isn’t about charity. It’s a boost to the “working” poor. 

I’ll continue to support the young startups in developing countries but not at the sacrifice of getting our own working poor into a position of self sufficiency. 

What is your reaction to this? Given the choice, would you lend to American start-ups or choose to send all your loans overseas? Do you agree with the critics that no one in the US is in true need of support to start their own business? I invite you to share your thoughts and opinions with our readers.

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