Women have made great headway over the past few decades in business and leadership and continue to fight for better opportunities and improved quality of life. But, according to the International Labor Office, at least 70 percent of the world’s poor (PDF) are still women.
As a way of ensuring more equitable economic opportunities for women and to address the issue of poverty and male-domination in business and senior management, enterprising women around the world are taking matters into their own hands and starting their own businesses.
However, the lack of access to finance is a persistent barrier that limits women’s abilities to start or expand their businesses and to fully participate in social, economic and political life. This is a problem that charity organizations like Kiva know only too well and seek to tackle.
Loans Available to Women Entrepreneurs from Kiva
Recently, Kiva.org, a nonprofit organization on a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty, ran an ambitious campaign to crowdfund 1 million U.S. dollars in 1 week to support women entrepreneurs, leading up to this year’s International Women’s Day (March 8).
The microfinance nonprofit has announced that the goal was exceeded and nearly 4.5 million U.S. dollars are now available as loans to women entrepreneurs from Kiva. The money will be matched by Kiva’s generous donors in honor of International Women’s Day 2016 and be available to women around the world, the organization says.
If you have wondered how you can stand with women entrepreneurs who just want to build better lives for themselves, their families and their society, or what you can do as an individual to help uplift women and girls in business, starting up or considering starting a business, Kiva.org may provide an answer.
Kiva gives you the opportunity to lend as little as $25 to a woman entrepreneur via its online platform. And when you’re repaid, you can re-lend your $25 to help another woman grow her business.
Kiva highlights a number of reasons why lending to women is good for business, on its website:
- Women reinvest 80 percent of their income in the wellbeing and education of their families.
- With the same amount of land, women can increase crop yields by 20 percent, reducing world hunger for 150 million people.
- Women business owners set an example for the next generation of students and leaders.
The nonprofit organization works with microfinance institutions on five continents to provide loans to people who do not have access to traditional banking systems. It says 100 percent of loan donation made on its platform is sent to these microfinance institutions, which it calls Field Partners.
Field Partners vet, distribute and administer the loans in the field, and the nonprofit charity stresses it does not take a cut and does not charge interest to the Field Partners.
Image: KivaMore in: Women Entrepreneurs