Did you know that we take a portion of our profits every week and make microloans to entrepreneurs in third world countries? We have an account at Kiva.org, a great website that handles everything in between you loaning out and the entrepreneur paying back.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of micro-loans, allow me to give you the quick rundown. Micro-loans is the act of giving small loans to entrepreneurs in the third world. The loans can be small, hence the name micro, as little as $50, and are used by entrepreneurs in places like Nigeria, Mexico, Peru, Indonesia, and East St. Louis (zing!) to start and expand businesses. We’ve made loans to shop owners, building contractors, seamstresses, natural medicines stores, and restaurants. Each fund at Kiva.org is in the $700 – $1,300 range and our average contribution per entrepreneur is $50-75. Each loan is built using funds from multiple lenders and are paid back, interest free, in 6-9 months. We have 24 Entrepreneurs in our Portfolio and we make new loans every week or two, all paid back loans go right back to new entrepreneurs.
Micro-finance has been shown to be an amazingly effective boost to people, families, and communities. It seeds a better quality of living and is truly giving people a helping hand up rather than a stream of ‘aid’ to become dependent on. The whole teach a man to fish thing. Kiva.org has a ridiculously low default rate of .02% on $886,385 in loans, so it’s a rock solidly safe investment.
I’m as die-hard an entrepreneur as you can get, so one of the first things I thought about when the idea of redesigning and retooling Planetsave was to bring micro-loans into the picture. Jan has been saving rain forest with the site since 1999 and he was glad to have the additional resources that are available to grow out the concept to include micro-loans and buying wind credits from Renewable Choice Energy (disclosure: I was a founder of RCE).
That’s why Planetsave is better than your website. We just f***ing care more.