Thursday, 17 October 2013

National Ethical Investment Week | Six reasons why a microloan makes a good investment

As National Ethical Investment Week (NEIW) 2013 draws to a close and people within the sector call for “bigger, bolder, broader and better”[1] ethical investments from the UK, I have been thinking about how and indeed if, lendwithcare answers this call to action?

© CARE/Emilie Bailey

Lendwithcare enables people to lend from as little as £15 to entrepreneurs running their own businesses in developing countries. 100% of the loan goes directly to the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs range from fish farmers in Cambodia to beauticians in Togo. The entrepreneur uses the loan to grow their business and support their family, and later pays the lender back. When their loan has been repaid, the lender can withdraw the money and keep it, or re-invest the money in another entrepreneur and help kick start another business.

Essentially it does. After all, NEIW aims to let people know they have 'ethical and green options when it comes to their financial decisions' – that everyone, not just rich philanthropists, can use their money to make a difference. Lendwithcare certainly lets people do this. However, NEIW also aims to let people know they can make a difference and make money. And it is this additional dimension that, although significant, is where NEIW contributors and lendwithcare lenders differ – while you won’t earn any interest on your loan, the vast majority of cases you get your money back in full and on time – unless of course one considers a warm, fuzzy feeling a ‘return’ on your investment.

Which leads me back to my original question: Does this lack of financial gain mean lendwithcare is not a smart investment? Of course not. Below are six reasons why an investment in a lendwithcare business, makes good money sense.  After all lendwithcare loans:

  1. Create employment and contribute towards building sustainable livelihoods in poor communities around the world. Affordable financial services are central to addressing poverty and your investment will help build the capacity of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to help the poorest earn a living, grow their businesses and create new jobs.
  2. Affordable: Investments start from as little as £15 but those with more cash to spare can lend  the full loan amount required. 
  3. Return: Repayment rate on lendwithcare is 99.97%[2] and although we do not offer investors more than their initial investment back, there is always that added ‘warm, fuzzy feeling’ I mentioned earlier. 
  4. Ethical: Lendwithcare is an initiative of humanitarian and development charity, CARE International UK and your investment will be used entirely for the benefit of the poor. Lendwithcare only partners with MFIs that have a strong social development mission and promote microfinance as a means to improving the social and economic conditions of poor people and their families. The MFIs we work with also promote and invest in social businesses in the communities they serve. 
  5. Unique: Investing directly in a lendwithcare entrepreneur and their business is an innovative way to do something good with your money and let’s face it, with saving accounts offering such low rates of interest it’s not doing much good anywhere else at the moment! 
  6. Knowledge, experience and expertise:  CARE International has been active in promoting microfinance throughout Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America for more than two decades, so you can be sure that your money is being invested sensibly and expertly.
So join me in #makingmoneygood this National Ethical Investment Week and sign-up to!
If you sign-up and get two friends lending through our share page before midnight tomorrow (Friday 18th of October) you could win an iPad mini

By Nancy Thomas, Lendwithcare Executive 

[2] Lendwithcare was launched by CARE International UK in September 2012. Since then there have been two defaulted loans and this was sadly due to the two entrepreneurs in question passing away.

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