Kiva’s Crowdfunding Platform Transforms Into Hub for Impact Investing and Financial Inclusion
By Jasjit Singh
In 2003, Jessica Jackley was a 25-year-old staff member of Stanford Business School’s Public Management Program when a lecture by Muhammad Yunus upturned her life.
Yunus popularized the microfinance solution to global poverty by founding Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Poor people in low-income countries typically lack the collateral and credit history that most financial institutions require to give them a loan. The microfinance model sought to develop a sustainable, market-driven approach of lending to poor people, especially aspiring entrepreneurs, small amounts of money on friendlier terms than typical moneylenders. Yunus would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his efforts.
Jackley decided to quit her job and move to East Africa to experience microfinance firsthand. Her husband, Matt Flannery, a Stanford graduate working as a computer programmer at TiVo, joined her for an extended visit a few months later.
“I wanted to create a way for our friends and family to experience these new stories of entrepreneurship,” Jackley writes in her 2015 autobiography, Clay Water Brick. “And then I wanted to give them a way to respond differently too—for the first time, not with a donation but with a loan.”
Photo courtesy of Ed Schipul.