Thursday 19 April 2012

Crowdfunding Initiative for Developing World Entrepreneurs

The ability of crowdfunding to help fund commercial and charitable projects is benefiting many organisations and individuals throughout the UK, US as well as Europe and Asia. Now entrepreneurs in the developing world looking to trade their way out of poverty have been tapping  into the power of crowdfunding thanks to, a UK based microfinance initiative. Along with the introduction of a new group lending feature, Lendwithcare is looking to revolutionise the face of digital charitable philanthropy and donations in the UK. is the first microfinance platform to be launched by a development agency, one of the leading aid agencies CARE international. With support from the Co-operative as part of its Global Poverty Project programme, the platform has attracted 5000 active lenders supporting projects mainly in food production, farming, clothing, retail and even photography in countries such as Benin, Togo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, the Philippines and more recently Ecuador. Lendwithcare operates like any other crowdfunding or microfinance initiative, with visitors to the site searching from the lists of projects in need of funding and selecting one they would like to support. Once a project is chosen the investor can loan from as little as £15 or up to the full specified limit. 
"I believe in helping others to help themselves. A small amount to me makes a huge difference to someone else. Better still, the money you invest, once returned can be recycled into new funding for other projects" - Nicol Caplin, Lender
Lenders can track the progress of the entrepreneurs they have supported to see how their money is helping the fledgling enterprise. The loan is then repaid in accordance with an agreed schedule, and credited to the lenders' account who can then do any one of the following; withdraw the money, donate it to support the efforts of CARE international, or support another enterprise. Thousands of loans have been made to entrepreneurs through the platform helping people like Yeurn Ouerm. Rice grower and mother of five Yeurn lost her paddy fields in the devastating floods that hit Cambodia last year. Lendwithcare highlighted her plight through Facebook and Twitter and within a few minutes nearly £200 was loaned helping her purchase fresh seeds to replenish and sustain her crops through the year.

Already Lendwithcare helps individuals make a difference to the lives of those in need. Now the initiative has launched a "group lending feature" enabling lenders to team up and invest in projects as a group. The loans can be attributed to the group collective helping to make an even bigger impact. Groups currently supporting developing world entrepreneurs include co-operatives, retailers,  families, churches and even whole countries. Since launching eighteen months ago has raised £700,000 in loan capital and is hoping to leverage £1.5 million of loans by the end of the year. 

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