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Real Social Networking

(November 21, 2006)
We heard about Kiva from Don Ramer, the CEO of Arbita (the advertising distribution company). After a return to profitability that rivals any number of gothic adventures, Arbita wondered what to do to thank its customers and partners. They looked at a range of alternatives and then took inspiration directly from their core values.

They are going to be donating 1% of their profits to Kiva as a way of giving back to the global community that they serve.

Kiva is a San Francisco based non-profit that does micro-financing in developing countries. Micro-financing involves small loans (tens or hundreds of dollars) given to small entrepreneurs. They focus on venture financing in economies with a different standard of living. They make tiny loans in settings where $25 is real money. It is a way of spreading the wealth amongst lower class entrepreneurs. It is precisely a mechanism for reinforcing the spiritual side of capitalism.

Ramer says, "Any company involved in globalization should donate 1% of their profits to operations like Kiva. In this way, they can complement the impact of their work in the arenas that they can't otherwise reach. Globalization has to work across economic classes or it will fail.".

"The foundation of capitalism is that a rising tide will lift all boats. That doesn't happen by accident in complex markets. It needs help. Organizations like Kiva provide that facility. This is a way to transform global economics into a sustainable model that encourages self-reliance and economic choice."

Ramer sees the potential to expand the role of small business in the evolution of sustainable markets. "Since small businesses are where most of the jobs are created in the United States, it only makes sense to encourage this model in other places. Micro-financing through Kiva makes it possible for anyone to lend a hand to an entrepreneur in a foreign land. Opportunity is the soul of capitalism."

From the Arbita press release:

Kiva provides a data-rich, transparent lending platform to the poor. Kiva.org allows individuals to make $25 loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world (microfinance). By doing so, they provide affordable working capital for the poor (money to buy a sewing machine, livestock, etc.), empowering them to earn their way out of poverty. 

Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

We hear that there's going to be another Recruiting.com poker game at Jeff Hunter's Unconference. We'd like to respectfully suggest that Kiva is a perfect recipient for the funds raised at the game. For our industry to support the global small business infrastructure that causes the jobs that we fill is simply too delicious to pass up.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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