Developing a small business in the United States, and in most cases, globally, frequently relies on the kindness of friends and family. We have all heard of the horror stories of trying to obtain capital from banks and venture capitalists. At last there may be a solution to help SMBs through modern funding techniques.
Just watched this amazing video of the TED talk in Oxford, England with Kiva.org co-founder Jessica Jackley. I was inspired by her personal story and some home truths that resonate with most of us living in developed countries in why we feel strongly about charitable donations, whether for moral or religious intent. Personally, I saw myself in her story and it hurt. Not because I was giving for selfish reasons but that no matter what we give, it will not be enough.
Kiva.org is one of the leading microfinancing organizations in the world, having facilitated more than $150 million dollars of loans in chunks as little as $25 to fund entrepreneurs in developing countries. All of this in just a few short years due to the power of the internet. However, recent stories of microlending abuse for many of these organizations has caused some to be wary of their successes. My advice, is do due diligence. Find out what banks are processing these microloans and their terms. Reputable organizations, like Kiva, will put these statistics on their site to assist you.
But this is not really a story about Kiva. You will see that I write frequently about corporate social responsibility (CSR). We are all asked frequently to lend or talents and resources as small business owners and entrepreneurs. Indeed, for most in the destination marketing, travel and hospitality industries, we give when we can least afford it.
This is the story of small business growth in the United States. Entrepreneurs are generally small business owners. And small businesses are the lifeblood of today’s economy. However, most funding for small businesses (watch the video to see the stats) comes from family and friends rather than banks. Ms. Jackley has taken the crowdsourcing model and her expertise from Kiva to launch a crowdsourcing platform for small business development.
Profounder.com is still in beta. But a promising advisory board and very experienced staff are sure to lead to success. Again, check out the video and let me know how you see this fitting into your business plan