Posts tagged ‘entrepreneurs’

Musings on what it means to be an entrepreneur in the more developed world

Ever since I started with Kiva Zip in the US my sixth sense seems to have awakened…I see entrepreneurs…everywhere!

I think my understanding what an entrepreneur was had until now been quite limited. An entrepreneur is Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook. Or the guy from Google, or someone opening a restaurant. But how about the person selling soda from a pull cart in Downtown DC? Or the person that put a card in my mailbox saying “cleaner for hire”? No. I didn’t include them in the same definition – until now that is! So as I head to the food cart guy in my neighborhood, I walk past a professional looking farmers market stand, a less established lemonade stand, a guy selling the homeless magazine, a make shift sunglasses stall off the main street and a flower vendor. And it’s clear: we need to adjust our thinking about entrepreneurship. All of us, not just the banks who lend money.

(more…)

31 October 2012 at 10:03

Selling stoves in Burkina Faso, a humble field guide

Diana Biggs | KF 18 | Burkina Faso

Last week I was lucky enough to join my Entrepreneurs du Monde (EdM) colleagues on a field mission in the Ioba province of Burkina Faso, a rural area that borders Ghana. There, in the town of Dano, is a small EdM office manned by Benoit Some, who covers EdM’s Burkina Faso social enterprise arm, Nafa Naana, in the area.

The small, roadside office doubles as a storage hub and retail outlet for energy-efficient and gas cookstoves (as described in my last blog post).

EdM's Dano office

Cookstove display outside the EdM branch in Dano.

Here, this March, four rural shopkeepers were given training in the Nafa Naana model — the product offering, environmental protection, stock management, cash management and sales techniques. Then in April, EdM set them up for the sale of the cookstoves, providing them with simple management tools, such as receipts and sales lists, posters and an informational leaflet to show interested customers. The organization also installed grills produced by local iron workers to lock up the cookstoves and organized four promotional events in the area to drum up interest. Then of course there were the actual cookstoves, which are supplied to the shopkeepers with interest-free advances.

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7 August 2012 at 08:00 4 comments

The Olympics and Microfinance in the search for Identity

By Icaro Rebolledo| KF18 | Peru

As our new job title appears to have changed to ‘Global Head of Olympics Events Watching’, our often dormant patriotic side comes out with a vengeance ready to shout at or even knock down the TV screen in an effort to support our athletes (I say ‘us’…  is it just me!?). You have had the pleasure of enjoying a unique feeling of celebrating ‘just’ the effort and hard work despite the lack of triumphs (unless you are Chinese or American, then you celebrate stuff like gold medals!) and you have now officially become an expert in sports that you didn’t really know existed (if you have any questions about weightlifting, I’m the man!). Yet, even though the Olympics seem to strengthen the existence of national borders, they also break the barriers of language, age groups or culture to show that in the end we have more similarities than we think; I see no other explanation to Mr. Bean’s ability to make 1billion people laugh with such simplicity! I give him a gold medal.

Such similarities often make us strive to differentiate ourselves from the rest and look for our own identity. Elements that encourage identity building also lead to a greater likelihood of motivation to think about our goals and achieve them via self-believe. So… as Peruvians proudly celebrated their Independence Day on the 28th of July,  I started thinking about why my work is contributing towards the provision of an environment that is prone to inspire people to think about their own identity. (more…)

3 August 2012 at 09:40 2 comments

Through the lens of Fondo Esperanza

By Lorena Gil, KF12, Fondo Esperanza – Chile

I was quite surprised when I arrived and turned on the television and saw a commercial of FE, how often do you see a commercial of an MFI? The commercial only runs during the campaign month, but FE works with radio stations year round.

Continue Reading 2 September 2010 at 08:09 3 comments

10,000 balloons soared into the sky

By Lorena Gil, KF12, Fondo Esperanza – Chile

On August 6th, over 10,000 balloons soared into the sky with the dreams of entrepreneurs from Fondo Esperanza. Fondo Esperanza is a non-profit foundation that supports entrepreneurship through the provision of credit and training to people living in vulnerable situations to improve their lives and their families.

Continue Reading 11 August 2010 at 07:30 4 comments

The Red Notebook and the Glue That Holds the Whole Story Together

By Taylor Akin, KF9, Togo

Sleep-deprived and over-heated, I sat in front of the fan in the loan officers’ room. I had been waiting for a loan officer at the WAGES branch office in Hédzranawoé for over an hour and sat unmoving as the room buzzed with activity all around me. Loan officers ran in and out, clients sat down and stood up, phones rang and calls were made, passbooks opened and closed, pencils scratched paper, sweat stained foreheads. I looked at the loan officer sitting across the desk opposite me. Adam is one of the kindest people I have met since my time here at WAGES, and I have had the opportunity to visit clients with him on several occasions. He is gentle, quiet, smiles easily and works extremely hard. I watched him flip through papers and carefully write the names of clients on a yellow post-it. With every name, he would “tsk tsk,” exclaim a high-pitched “ah” sound of frustration, and shake his head.

Continue Reading 3 April 2010 at 09:07 2 comments

Filipino Values Pt 1: Bahala Na

When I was in grade school, we would start every year of Pilipino class with a lesson on what the Filipino traits were. The ones I particularly remember are: bahala na, pakikisama, hiya, mañana habit, and utang na loob. These five values inform every Kiva Fellow’s experience in the Philippines but also explain why many of the micro-entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to become borrowers in the first place. Literally translated, these words sometimes seem pejorative in English yet without understanding them, one would be hard-pressed to understand how microfinance works in the Philippines. (more…)

12 January 2010 at 00:55 15 comments

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