Kiva and peer-to-peer microfinance

This is very cool. It’s a website called Kiva.

Kiva connects YOU directly with micro-entrepreneurs who need small amounts of funding.

I’ve been keeping half an eye on the notion of peer-to-peer loans for some time. It’s always struck me as an Internet-led innovation that might help those in need, or indeed anyone, stay out of the clutches of high-interest banks, doorstep lenders and loan sharks.

Kiva claims to have helped 20,000 lenders (that would be you and I!) make a loan in the last week.

It’s an incredibly compelling idea. And what an amazing employee engagement tool.

Rather than playing poker, mucking about with Facebook, or ‘day trading’ from your desk, you can invest in an entrepreneur, get a return and more importantly, gain that tremendous satisfaction of helping someone that gambling or Internet time-wasting can never provide.

Whilst micro finance has its challenges (not least scale and monitoring), there’s no doubt a model like Kiva’s can and should work for all of us.

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