This is a great idea that allows fellow business owners that are just starting out to put their best foot forward. I think it is a wonderful way to help others.
A former co-worker introduced me to Kiva a couple of years ago. Since then, I have had more fun with $25.00 than I ever could have imagined. Kiva is a non-profit organization whose mission statement is:
"to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty"
Lenders, such as myself and my $25.00, choose an entrepreneur from their web site to loan money to. These are folks who are in need of funds to help support themselves and their families. Sometimes they just need $100 to buy supplies for their business.
The first entrepreneur I loaned to was a young mother from Kenya. She was selling shoes outdoors, a blanket on the ground was her "kiosk". The second entrepreneur was from Tajikistan, he needed money to buy cattle and feed.
Today I received a notification that my loan had again been fully re-paid, so I chose to loan to a three person team from Bolivia. They have a small store and need additional supplies. They need $850.00 and $550.00 has been raised so far. I'm sure that loan will be fully funded before dinner time.
On the front page of Kiva's web site, there is a section called "Impact This Week". The numbers are staggering. 36443 lenders such as myself loaned $2,864,800.00 to 7040 entrepreneurs which translates to 1 loan every 7 seconds. And that was just THIS WEEK.
And oh, by the way, if you are STILL trying to figure out what to give that person who has everything, Kiva sells gift cards. That special someone who has everything could use a Kiva gift card to help someone who has nothing.