Posts Tagged 'Zopa'

Microfinance in the developing world – correspondent

I received this letter and info from some folks in the US. I’m so flattered by the opening line that I print the stuff in full. Looks like a ‘Zopa’ lending initiative for individuals who have a few bob that they want to put to a good cause and get a return. Win-win.

Hello Charlie,

As an avid reader of your blog, and a big fan of the humorous and insightful observations presented in the entrepreneurship section, I wanted to write to you about a relevant story emerging from the micro credit world.  MicroCredit Enterprises, in conjunction with MicroPlace, has been able to raise an impressive amount of capital for fledgling business in developing nations, while securing generous yields on lender’s investments.  The case study suggests that small triumphs are still possible in this gloomy economic climate, and that the entrepreneurial spirit endures despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. 

As the economy continues to struggle, traditional investments are yielding little or negative returns, making MicroPlace, a website that enables people to invest in the world’s working poor, an intriguing option.

MicroPlace has launched a new investment opportunity through MicroCredit Enterprises, a nonprofit organization committed to reducing poverty by providing small loans to the working poor around the world. An investment of as little as $20 with MicroCredit Enterprises yields a 5% return, allowing people to help eliminate poverty without compromising financial goals.

MicroCredit Enterprises previously relied heavily on high net-worth individuals to provide $1 million guarantees. The addition of the MicroPlace investment option opens the door for anyone to contribute.

Below is the press release. Please feel free to contact me for additional details or to arrange an interview with Jonathan Lewis, CEO of MicroCredit Enterprises.



MicroPlace Launches First Microfinance Investment Yielding 5 Percent for Everyday Investors

People can help the working poor out of poverty with a healthy investment as low as $20.

San Jose, Calif., February 17, 2009 — MicroPlace (, a website that enables everyday people to invest in the world’s working poor, announced today the launch of a new investment opportunity that offers a 5 percent return, a first in the microfinance investment industry for everyday investors.

Through MicroPlace (, anyone can make microfinance investments that lift people from poverty and offer a 5 percent rate of return. Investors don’t have to compromise their financial goals to help people escape poverty. By visiting MicroPlace, people can invest as little as $20 and have the opportunity to earn 5 percent interest. With money market funds currently offering an average of 1 percent1 and the stock market yielding negative returns over the past year, MicroPlace investments offer a healthier return while simultaneously making a positive impact in the world.

“This is about enabling individuals to address social problems and make a difference through investing instead of philanthropy. In our current economic environment, this is important because people can put their money to work while doing good,” said Ashwini Narayanan, general manager of MicroPlace. “Unlike a donation, investment funds are available at maturity, multiplying the impact they can make.”

The 5 percent investment opportunity listed on MicroPlace is offered by MicroCredit Enterprises (, a nonprofit organization committed to reducing poverty by providing small loans to the working poor around the world. MicroCredit Enterprises currently finances microloans in 15 nations on four continents. Women are the recipient of 89 percent of its microloans.

“Investors with MicroCredit Enterprises and MicroPlace realize the greatest return in the world is the chance to lift a person out of poverty,” said Jonathan C. Lewis, founder and chief executive officer of MicroCredit Enterprises. “Earning a fair financial return is a bonus.”

Microfinance has been recognized worldwide as a simple but powerful tool that enables the poor to pull themselves out of poverty. Most commonly, it involves making small loans – as little as $20 – to the working poor in developing countries. The loans are used to establish or expand small businesses that generate additional income for the family, enabling them to buy food, access healthcare, educate their children, put aside savings and lay the foundation for a better future.

According to The World Bank2, 1.2 billion people subsist on less than $1 per day. MicroPlace is committed to charting a whole new course to end poverty for these individuals. Around the world, more than 130 million3 hardworking impoverished entrepreneurs have benefited from microfinance while nearly 1 billion could benefit if given the opportunity. Every investment through MicroPlace takes a step toward meeting that need.
About MicroPlace
MicroPlace (, launched in 2007, is a website that enables everyday people to invest in the world’s working poor. As an online investment marketplace whose mission it is to alleviate global poverty, MicroPlace is paving the way to enable a billion people to lift themselves out of poverty. MicroPlace is a wholly-owned subsidiary of eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY).

About eBay Inc.
Founded in 1995, eBay Inc. connects hundreds of millions of people around the world every day, empowering them to explore new opportunities and innovate together. eBay Inc. does this by providing the Internet platforms of choice for global commerce, payments and communications. Since its inception, eBay Inc. has expanded to include some of the strongest brands in the world, including eBay, PayPal, Skype, StubHub, and others. eBay Inc. is headquartered in San Jose, California.

About MicroCredit Enterprises
Established in 2005, MicroCredit Enterprises is a pioneering private sector, anti-poverty program that leverages the private capital of high net worth individuals to provide small business loans to impoverished entrepreneurs in developing countries who live on $1 per day or less. MicroCredit Enterprises is backed by a growing network of Guarantors with a current total of $37 million in pledged assets. To date, MicroCredit Enterprises has funded 101,000 micro-entrepreneurs across 15 countries on four continents.


Laura Noss
Social Planets on behalf of MicroPlace

Jessica Scadron
Social Planets on behalf of MicroPlace
1Represents’s average 7-day effective yield for taxable money market mutual funds as of 2/9/09. A money market mutual fund invests in short-term debt instruments such as Treasury bills, commercial paper, and large CD’s and provides daily liquidity to the investor.


3Microcredit Summit Campaign

Annie Millican
Junior Associate – DMD

88 Pine Street | New York, NY 10005
office – 646.442.2773 | cell – 401.742.9896

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Castaway – a corker beckons


Sorry if I’m bugging you with invites and reminders – and you are thinking ‘where the f*** did that all come from?’
Quick hit
Castaway is on Tues 25 Nov at the offices of Fortune Cookie, (The Lightwell, 12-16 Laystall St, EC1R 4PF – just north of Hatton Garden). 6.30pm.
Please come. If you haven’t RSVPd, then BYO beer as we won’t have catered for you. We’re catering for 30 whom I know are coming – but will welcome more. And, your all supposed to BYO anyhow.
The reason for Castaway is that I’m on the hunt for the Next Big Thing – and I keep bumping into amazing amazing people and their businesses. Digital, design, brand, content. To survive the Crunch, you are best to collaborate. The cool innovations will get traction, but only if they team up with the guys who have the right clients’ ears and commercial balls of steel.
You hit the spot, so I thought I’d flame you this invite.
You guys can get a very quick fix of hot people and partners at Castaway – I can assure you that there’s some right rich cream that’s floated to the surface and heading to Fortune Cookie’s offices. Oh, and a jolly nice chinwag and ale.
Who you gonna meet?
Take Cookie themselves – safe pair of hands, been at the heart of the internet since before Web1.0, just bagged the build of and the worldwide site revamp for a car rental co. They’ve grown 70% in the past 12 months and do websites that work like National Rail Enquiries, Miss Selfridge, Amnesty. They proudly tell me they’ve got 34 major digital awards in the cabinet.
Or, Huddle. Online collaborative tool. My chums there have just been selected as the opening round of apps to be embedded into LinkedIn as it opens its API. Bunch of 20 and 30-somethings in SE1 taking on The Valley.
Have a look at Oil Productions. They launch their interactive drama on Channel4, sponsored to six figures by Wellcome Trust, in Jan 09 – a category game-changer with reality TV, dramatic plot lines, online real/fictional clue trail, schools education programme. Yes, the elevator pitch will blow your brains. But, when the penny drops. Boy.
Get your head around Unanimis. Now a grand-daddy of web ad servicing.
Sniff the latest from The Valley Brits with You Noodle. Utterly w**k name, but brought to you by the guys that bagged billions from selling Paypal.
Or, our very own UK neat ideas: I always thought community lending sounded a right duff idea, then all the ‘real banks’ exploded. Check I hope they are making hay. Or, travel info techsters – the crunch is sure to be good for public transport.
Is anyone on the make doing ‘conventional’ stuff any more? Check out – they used to be contract publishers, but are cutting it with NMA site of the week for (which also means that instead of doing mags for plumbers, they hang out with Kate Moss). Or, once a PR straightman, now digital superhero or the boys who blog like Steve ‘Wadds’ Waddington at
And, for sure, I need to nod to previous Castaway hosts Big Als and All of Us. Check – even those ‘straight ad men’ are working for Google now! And,– the cobblers children have a new website.
The roll-call gets bigger. Meeting just a trio of these people will restore your faith in surviving 2009, even if we are ‘Iceland2 – Waiting to Happen’.
Spread the joy.

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