microfinance

Kickstarting

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFY-UvNbm3s&w=440&h=280] By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about Kickstarter, “the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world!”  The website connects people, who are interested in funding creative progress, to projects seeking to achieve this goal.  Donors’ money is only obligated to projects that receive full funding pledges.  Two interesting projects that have been brought to my attention are City Fabric – a design project that gives people unique ways to talk about their place – and Flipphandle – an invention to enable the storage of many bicycles in a small space. I visited the site today to check out what other projects might be of interest to the Living Labs Global community.  I found a few that I think you should check out (some of which are already fully-funded).

  • JeepNeed – re-purposing “jeepneys” as mobile classrooms equipped with netbooks, internet access, and other materials and resources and work towards teacher ownership of the vehicle
  • A Map to Change – a writing and publishing project that plans to map infrastructure that enforces wasteful culture in the US as well as a proposed solution map – better, more efficient and less wasteful infrastructure.  These art pieces will then be used as a tool for change.
  • Spirit of Hope Bike Parking – a local church in Detroit did not have any bicycle parking and used Kickstarter to raise funds to hire a local metal artist to build them
  • TRANSIT/STASIS: Negotiating Movement in the City – an art publication and exhibition exploring the intersection of art and urban transit; technology and systems of movement.  Check out the results here!
  • Trains-forming America – a documentary project comparing and contrasting the use of trains as transportation in Europe and America. Looks like they completed European filming in May of this year.  Looking forward to the results!

Happy browsing.

- Terra Curtis

 

Focus on Africa

Continuing on the theme of the Labs Global Award 2011 categories, this week I’d like to highlight a couple of ventures related to African entrepreneurs. By now, I think everyone’s heard of and perhaps been involved in Kiva.org, the micro-lending organization that seeks to “connect people…for the sake of alleviating poverty.”  According to their website, Kiva organizes an average of one loan every ten seconds, with a repayment rate of almost 99%.  Their success is also reflected by the fact that, on average, on Kiva user makes 6.46 loans, meaning users are very happy with the service and willing to loan repeatedly.  Readers interested in Africa specifically (especially for readers in Cape Town where an initiative has been started focusing on finding micro-lenders) should look at Kiva’s extensive list of Field Partners, here. I also came across an organization called JamiiBora (“good families”), which is the largest micro-lending institution in Kenya (as of 2007; see this excellent New York Times article).  JamiiBora is using a mobile phone-based system which allows loan recipients in rural areas to receive payments, make payments, and do other business electronically.  They no longer have to go to urban areas to get access to more formal banking arrangements or ATMs.  The company also recruits its staff from members who were once loan recipients – a great model for sustainability.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwXMJUe4XcI&fs=1&hl=en_US]

Lastly, I wanted to call your attention to a recently-released database of social enterprises called iuMAP.  It is an initial attempt at cataloguing these businesses in order to aid investors, entrepreneurs, and others in connecting and learning from one another.  It was created by Allyu, an organization focus on “putting social enterprise on the map.”  IuMAP has about 450 “bottom of the pyramid” organizations catalogued currently, in addition to various related information and resources.  Another useful tool for identifying African-focused social enterprises.

-Terra Curtis

Focus on Africa

Continuing on the theme of the Labs Global Award 2011 categories, this week I’d like to highlight a couple of ventures related to African entrepreneurs. By now, I think everyone’s heard of and perhaps been involved in Kiva.org, the micro-lending organization that seeks to “connect people…for the sake of alleviating poverty.”  According to their website, Kiva organizes an average of one loan every ten seconds, with a repayment rate of almost 99%.  Their success is also reflected by the fact that, on average, on Kiva user makes 6.46 loans, meaning users are very happy with the service and willing to loan repeatedly.  Readers interested in Africa specifically (especially for readers in Cape Town where an initiative has been started focusing on finding micro-lenders) should look at Kiva’s extensive list of Field Partners, here. I also came across an organization called JamiiBora (“good families”), which is the largest micro-lending institution in Kenya (as of 2007; see this excellent New York Times article).  JamiiBora is using a mobile phone-based system which allows loan recipients in rural areas to receive payments, make payments, and do other business electronically.  They no longer have to go to urban areas to get access to more formal banking arrangements or ATMs.  The company also recruits its staff from members who were once loan recipients – a great model for sustainability.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwXMJUe4XcI&fs=1&hl=en_US]

Lastly, I wanted to call your attention to a recently-released database of social enterprises called iuMAP.  It is an initial attempt at cataloguing these businesses in order to aid investors, entrepreneurs, and others in connecting and learning from one another.  It was created by Allyu, an organization focus on “putting social enterprise on the map.”  IuMAP has about 450 “bottom of the pyramid” organizations catalogued currently, in addition to various related information and resources.  Another useful tool for identifying African-focused social enterprises.

-Terra Curtis