However, a lesser known microfinance venture, Kiva.org, is already using the model to demonstrate remarkable social returns by focusing specifically on “loaning money to businesses in the developing world.”
BusinessWeek recently ran an article about Kiva and provided some great success stories:
For 15 years, Angel Asenov Isaev, a 29-year-old Gypsy living in Sliven, Bulgaria, worked in a bike repair shop in the center of town, struggling to save enough capital to start his own shop. About five months ago, Isaev applied for a $250 loan from a local microfinance institution (MFI) called REDC Bulgaria.
He got the loan, opened the business, and is now working seven days a week to keep up with demand. But the money didn’t come from Bulgaria: It came from America. That’s because REDC had partnered with a U.S.-based Web site, Kiva.org…
Check out this link to Businessweek for a slideshow on how Kiva is creating social value in the developing world.
I’m definitely a fan now, and will probably be purchasing a bunch of these gift cards soon.