lendwithcare.org offers an alternative to traditional charity, giving microloans to businesses in developing countries to help people out of poverty.
lendwithcare.org is a revolutionary way for you to help people throughout the developing world transform their future. Set up by one of the world’s leading aid and development organisations, lendwithcare.org enables families to find their own route out of poverty. And it allows you to have a direct impact on their lives.
Rather than just donating your money and seeing it disappear into a big charity pot, you can lend your money to a specific “entrepreneur” and see how they get on. Ideally, you’ll eventually get your money back, although there is always a chance that the money won’t be repaid.
Here’s how it works:
1. The Entrepreneur has an idea
Just like any small business, it all starts with an idea. An entrepreneur in the developing world approaches a local microfinance institution (MFI) with a business plan. MFIs are effectively local banks – they vary in size, but they all have long-established working relationships with CARE International.
An entrepreneur’s business plan could be anything from dressmaking to expanding a small farm holding.
2. The microfinance institution (MFI) gives a loan
Entrepreneurs are often living in desperate poverty, and business plans are dependent on time and other factors – in an agricultural project, for example, planting can only happen at a certain time of year.
For these two reasons, the MFI needs to act straightaway – an entrepreneur’s success could be compromised (and their future could be jeopardised) if they had to wait for weeks to receive a loan.
So if the MFI is satisfied that the entrepreneur’s business plan is promising and sound, they approve the proposal and provide the initial loan.
The MFI then helps the entrepreneur construct their profile for lendwithcare.org.
3. You meet the Entrepreneur on lendwithcare.org
The MFI uploads the entrepreneur’s profile to lendwithcare.org. You can find profiles from all over the world in the ‘Entrepreneurs’ section, where you can choose which promising business you’d like to support.
4. You lend your support
When you’ve made your decision, you provide a loan to get the entrepreneur’s business plans off the ground. You can make a contribution towards the total needed, in increments of £15 or more. Or you can invest the full amount yourself.
5. You cover the loan
As soon as the entrepreneur’s loan is fully funded by you (and other supporters) this money is then transferred to the MFI, and used to replace the initial loan already paid out to the entrepreneur. You are now funding the entrepreneur; the MFI and CARE International will continue to manage the progress of the loan to completion. Importantly, now that you have covered the loan, the MFI can move funding onto another hopeful business plan.
6. The Entrepreneur grows their business
While all this is happening, the entrepreneur is busy growing their business. The MFI and CARE International regularly updates the entrepreneur’s profile on the lendwithcare.org website, so you can follow their amazing progress. And you can see how their new source of income (and your loan) is transforming every aspect of their lives – paying for food, medicine and school fees, and providing a better future for their whole family.
7. The Entrepreneur repays your loan
The entrepreneur gradually pays back their loan. The MFI transfers these repayments to CARE International who then credit the repayment to your lendwithcare.org ‘Account’.
You usually get your money back in full and on time. Sometimes however, just like any business, things might not go to plan.
If the entrepreneur is not able to keep up with their repayment schedule, you might have to wait longer to recover your investment. And if the entrepreneur is unable to pay back their loan, you might not receive the full amount you originally invested.
8. You decide what happens next
When the repaid loan is credited to your ‘Account’, you control what happens next. You can withdraw your money using a PayPal account. You can donate it to CARE International and fund our life-changing work throughout the world. Or you can do what most lenders do and make another loan, helping even more entrepreneurs turn their plans for business – and their hopes for a better future – into reality.
Microlending definitely feels like a more “hands on” means of giving to charity, and of course, there’s a chance you’ll get your money back in the end, if that’s important to you.
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