Kiva incorporates microfinance, technology, Web 2.0, and hundreds of thousands of personal stories. Below are just some of the many ways Kiva affects the world today.

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Kinder Capitalism?

Muhammad Yunus' new book Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism has stirred up a great deal of questions and curiosity around his idea of social business - businesses that operate as any other entrepreneurial endeavor, but work to create a social profit, rather than a financial profit.

Bill Gates has joined Yunus' argument for an intersection between business and "doing good", calling for "creative capitalism" in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well," Gates told The Wall Street Journal.

Social Business and Creative Capitalism is already here.

Kiva's unique online micro-lending marketplace is a true social business which provides a service for philanthopic individuals looking to create the greatest impact with their philanthropy earmarked funds. Lenders choose to make an optional donation to Kiva for facilitating their loan to an entrepreneur, creating a sustainable business model for Kiva. The social impact is two-fold: entrepreneurs receive start-up or expansion capital which gives them an opportunity to create a business to lift themselves out of poverty, while the microfinance institutions Kiva partners with gain access to a new source of cheap, soft debt capital/

This is a true "win-win" situation.

Learn more about Yunus' ideas for Social Business Entrepeneurs here.

Philanthropy 2.0

MySpace has changed the way the entertainers relate to their fans, Craigslist has changed the way people find a job or a room-for-rent, Kiva has changed the way people give back.

Kiva posts a picture of each loan recipient on the internet, so that contributors can see who they are helping, read their name and learn their story through their business description. Kiva Field Partners post updates to each business throughout the loan term, and lenders can post comments in reply to the Partner Representative, asking questions about the business or expressing their encouragement for the entrepreneur. Kiva demands accountability for loan funds by tracking repayments in a transparent way, and publishing all progress reports - both positive and negative.

The ease with which we can now gather information from around the world has changed the way the public want to give. By creating a platform through which people can connect - much the same as MySpace or Craigslist - Kiva is giving philanthropy a 2.0 twist, enabling individuals to give an entrepreneur halfway around the world their vote of confidence with just $25.

A Shrinking World

Kiva creates connections between people across the globe previously considered so vastly separated that connecting them would be impossible. People can be separated by distance, culture, wealth or access to information, but Kiva is connecting people despite these disruptors.

Some examples include:

  • A group of maximum security inmates in Salem, OR who lend their $20 month payment for janitorial duties to micro-entrepreneurs through Kiva.
  • An American woman who connected a Kenyan taxi-driver she met in Nairobi with a local microfinance institution through Kiva, to receive a loan funded by 39 individuals from 6 countries.
  • Members of the developing world lending to other members of the developing world, such as Indians lending to Asians, Sth Americans lending to Africans and Mexicans lending to other Mexicans.