At McLane Creative I make a simple promise: You invest in us and we invest in someone else.
For every new client I take on I make a small loan to help a woman with her business around the world. This morning I made our 25th loan, helping a newly married woman in Mozambique buy more products to sell in her shop.
Kiva is a non-profit organization which helps connect you to those in need of a microloan. They work with NGOs around the world, providing oversight and accountability, and help people like me make investments in small businesses all over the developing world.
In other words, they make high risk small business loans to people a traditional bank wouldn’t consider. These loans help participants grow their businesses and gain financial independence. They treat their clients with respect and help them avoid the pitfalls of loan sharks.
It’s a loan, not a donation. The NGO charges a competitive interest rate far below the rates of street loans or loan sharks, handle the day-to-day operations, and for their efforts they keep the interest while I’m repaid the principle of my loan according to a schedule. I’ve been making loans to Kiva since 2007 and have only had 1 loan default. It’s not that risky. And you can even withdraw your money after your loan has been repaid.
Why Do I Only Invest in Women?
One take away from the book The Blue Sweater was that women in developing nations invest the profits of their business directly into their family at a higher rate than their male counterparts. So that means that when I help a woman with her business, she will in turn invest the profits of her business into her home, her children, their education and health care.
How can you get involved?
I can think of 3 ways you could get involved with Kiva today.
- Make a small, monthly investment personally or as a family. This is how I got started. I picked 1 person to invest $25 in and then waited for updates. Once we saw that Kiva was for real I made more investments.
- Give Kiva as a gift. We’ve given Kiva loans to our kids as Christmas presents. It’s fun for them to pick out someone to invest in, print out their picture, and wait for repayment.
- Create a team for your business. When you create a team you can set team goals and stuff like that. Even though Team McLane Creative is really just one member of the team, I like keeping track of it separately from my other loans. (They are funded from my business accounts, too.)
As I was writing this post I discovered that Kiva is doing a special deal right now. If you create an account, Kiva will credit your account $25 for your first loan. And if you use my invite link I’ll get $25, too.
So for the low, low price of $0 we can invest $50 in a small business. Simple, right?