Retail Consumers as Micro Lenders + What is FITE? + Maya Entrepreneurs Supported by FITE
By Kimberly Strathearn, KF 16/17, Turkey
On January, 2011, Kiva.org announced its partnership with Dermalogica (a leading international skin care brand) and other partners to launch joinFITE.org in order to provide micro loans to women entrepreneurs in low-income regions of the United States and 56 other countries.
FITE is a global empowerment platform that is designed to cultivate Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship (FITE) by providing women entrepreneurs access to small loans that will help them start or grow a business thereby bettering themselves, their families and their communities; and to help educate the public at large about the benefits of empowering women entrepreneurs.
The FITE campaign aims to educate the public by engaging retail consumers as micro lenders. Dermalogica, for example will contribute a $1 every time a consumer goes to the joinFITE.org website and redeems the code printed on FITE-themed packaging found on the company’s five best-selling products. The joinFITE codes enable consumers to direct joinFITE partner donations to an entrepreneur in a part of the world, and for a type of business, of their choosing. At the website, there is also an option to make a microloan through the Kiva.org website. See the video below (English with Turkish subtitles).'
The FITE strategy engages Dermalogica’s network of distributors, thousands of spa and salon owners, and consumers to join the campaign, for the goal of funding 25,000 women-owned businesses in the first two years of the campaign. The first year’s goal was achieved, helping to fund loans for more than 8,000 women entrepreneurs. FITE has an even bigger goal for 2012: to help fund another 17,000 for a total of 25,000 loans. As of the writing of this blog post, the website statistics show 14,390 entrepreneurs so far with 10,610 more to go.
Why 25,000 loans? Dermalogica and its founder Jane D. Wurwand, a pioneer in the skin care industry, have helped over 25,000 skin therapist entrepreneurs to start and grow their own businesses. Accomplished through a unique blend of innovative products, results-oriented treatments, an industry-renowned education network and exceptional business support, Wurwand has seen first-hand the transformational power of entrepreneurship on these women’s lives and communities. To celebrate their success, the goal is for Dermalogica’s global network to help another 25,000 women start or grow their business through microfinance.
Have you ever wondered why the Maya profiles on Kiva are in English and Turkish? It is a result of the Dermalogica campaign. Since Dermalogica is an international company, the joinFITE web site is accessible in English, French, Spanish, German and Chinese. Dermalogica sells their skin care products in Turkey and while the FITE-themed packaging is in English, Dermalogica Turkiye and Maya wanting the Maya borrower profiles to be more accessible to potential Turkish lenders asked that the profiles display the borrowers’ stories in both languages.
Maya became a Kiva partner in August 2011 and Dermalogica Turkiye kicked off its campaign in October 2011.
What has the impact of joinFite.org campaign been on Maya entrepreneurs? Here are some of the funded individual and group loans that joinFITE.org helped support: Jet Group, Gulay’s Group, Yunuslar Group, Sibel, Hulya, Tulay, and Sevinc.
Leveraging Wurwand’s own passion and Dermalogica’s global network together with Kiva’s network of 142 Field Partners in 59 countries and its worldwide network of over 760,917 Kiva lenders, supported by the power of retail consumers to reach women entrepreneurs all over the world is not your ordinary corporate social responsibility initiative. Nor is it an outdated charity aid model with questionable results, this is the power of human networks, business networks and digital technology at its most powerful best being harnessed to improve families and communities around the world– one women at a time. Forget the ripple effect, let’s make waves!
A couple of Tips for leveraging your own passion and networks for supporting entrepreneurs:
- Father’s Day is right around the corner on June 17th, so there is plenty of time to slip a Kiva Card into your Father’s Day package
- Top off your favorite gal pal’s package with a specially marked joinFITE Dermalogica skin care product!, store locator
- Best way to convince friends to try Kiva, Free Trials while they last! Post the link to your Facebook page for more impact. And hey if you are reading this blog and aren’t a Kiva lender yet, if not now-when? It takes less than 5 minutes to make the loan of your choice, for FREE!
-Slip a Kiva Card in your favorite Graduate’s package
–Don’t forget to go to your own account and use any accumulated credits or make a new loan! (small confession– money doesn’t generally burn a hole in my pocket, but my Kiva credits are gone the same day they are posted to my account).
-I’ve recently met a Kiva lender (and now is a Maya volunteer) who buys her husband Kiva credits and he buys her Kiva credits for their wedding anniversary (I’m guessing with Kiva Cards) . She said they had been doing it for about 2 years and were both very happy about their new anniversary gift giving tradition.
I do have to also admit that I’m not an avid shopper and love giving gifts that do double duty especially ones that support and spread awareness about the causes I’m passionate about.
What is your most innovative tip for how you have spread the word about your passion for microfinance?
Visit these blogs posts for more on Maya and Turkey:
Kimberly Strathearn is a KF 16/17 serving in Istanbul with Maya. Kiva’s newest Field Partner in Istanbul, Turkey. To learn more about Maya and their clients, please visit their Partner Page, join our newly created Friends of Maya Lending Team, or make a loan to one of their enterprising clients. Kimberly is a fan of giving Kiva Cards for just about every gift giving occasion. What could be better that giving the gift of helping someone?