I was wrong when I thought that entrusting me with a phone, and a key (as well as allowing me to dress as I saw necessary), was the Chatter limit; and I wouldn’t have blamed them. But the guys had the generous idea of also entrusting me with monetary funds after my first day. Funds to invest on Chatter’s behalf in a growing business through Kiva. They masked it as a welcome gift, but I knew it was to test my moral choices, I imagine its part of many a recruitment process nowadays?
Kiva is a non-profit organisation that allows people to lend money via the Internet to people (generally entrepreneurs) in developing countries through micro-finance. It includes individual stories of each person who needs a loan so that ‘lenders’ can choose an entrepreneur they wish to fund. The money sent by the ‘lender’ is then transferred to the micro-finance institution (or Field Partner) and disbursed to the selected individual, providing them with the funds required to grow their business. The idea is that eventually the loan is repaid and the ‘lender’ recoups their money and it can be reinvested to another entrepreneur.
The concept is brilliant, and I wholeheartedly support the cause, but I was initially left with a dilemma… Who to lend the money to?
My studies of the Poor Law System hadn’t really endeared me to the idea of classifying those ‘deserving’ of funding from those not. I realised the ‘welcome gift’ my employers had given to me was a bit of a nightmare, and I couldn’t just plump for the Juan Milton because of a surname… could I?
Fortunately my qualms regarding the selection of the ‘deserving’ poor for my loan were alleviated by the fact that the full loan is pre-disbursed to the ‘borrowers’ by the micro-financiers, meaning that ‘lenders’ do not make the decision as to whether the individual is deserving of funding based on their picture and story. I could just plump for a namesake? Well I had a little think, and I’ve came up with a couple of entrepreneurs I could be pals with…
- Julius makes shoes in Thika, Kenya. I can appreciate a decent pair of leather shoes. Providing him with the opportunity to grow his shoe-making business is great; and he intends to educate his family with the proceeds. Education was an important part of the ITFC Charitable Trust trip to Kenya, and I’m an Ipswich fan, so I feel that the choice is in someway justified… I just hope I get the opportunity to buy some shoes off Julius once his business rockets!
- I have been intrigued by Peru ever since I read a fantastic article retelling the story of Peruvian political struggles during the early 1990’s. Whilst Peru has experienced massive social, cultural and economic growth in recent years, the economic disparities between communities are excessive… Dania is the same age as me (21), and hasn’t been afforded the opportunity to study that I have. Her ambition to succeed should not be blighted by her economic circumstance, and she deserves to do well! She also makes red spaghetti, and spaghetti dishes formed a pretty substantial part of my student diet, aside from cold meats and the like.
Hopefully, with the smallest of contributions, I can help these guys to build their businesses and one day see them featured alongside me on a Forbes . One day. If you would like to join us on the Forbes Hot 100 you should sign up too. If you sign up through the Chatter lending Team you get $25 free to loan.