A Challenge to Entrepreneurs During National Small Business Week

This is the week designated as National Small Business Week, by the US Small Business Administration (SBA). There is no doubt that small businesses play a key role in driving the US economy.

Small businesses often start off as dreams. The dream to create something of value, the dream to work for oneself, the dream to create wealth….. The list goes on and on.

These sorts of entrepreneurial dreams have sparked imaginations and made nations great. They have caused people to stir at night and strive for greatness.

Often times, however, a person can be so very close to their dream and yet never quite achieve it.

Perhaps there is only an idea and some passion. We all know that these two things are often not enough to realize the dream of building a business, or growing it into a larger venture.

In our current world economy, there are many times when an entrepreneurial dream cannot be achieved without a spark.

I’ve decided to celebrate National Small Business Week by providing a small spark, on a global scale.

While my spark is small, it will make the difference to a yam producer in Togo, a food market owner in Uganda, a poultry producer in Uganda and a seafood retail establishment owner in the Philippines.

I’ve created an account on KIVA.org, so that I can assist these small business owners and fellow dreamers with some micro-financing. I’ve joined the ranks of more than 450,000 others who have contributed towards the small business owner’s goal, by making a micro-loan.

By doing this, I am able to assist the small business owners in a mutually dignified and respectful way. Also, the manner in which I help is providing accountability to the business owner, since it is indeed a loan that will be paid back in full. Once the loans are repaid, I can then lend funding to additional small business owners.

So how much money am I talking about? Perhaps it is the cost of eating out one night.

For as little as $25, you may provide assistance to a business owner somewhere in the world who possesses the same entrepreneurial spirit that you do. The same determination…. The same desire…

So what do you get out of it? You receive the knowledge that your micro-loan is providing someone with the opportunity to create or grow a business. Your small contribution can go a long way!

As I write this blog post, more than 450,000 people from around the world have felt the satisfaction of seeding entrepreneurship. To date, nearly $139 Million worth of loans have been made to 197 countries through KIVA contributors. Perhaps you have already participated in this effort.

Maybe you’re thinking that times are tough and this isn’t the right time to participate. Perhaps you have started your own company and don’t feel like you have the resources to get involved in something like this. I completely understand, as I have started up a company as well. Like everyone else, I am feeling the effects of this great recession.

However, it is times like these that cause me to think about the importance of going beyond myself and my community to make a difference.

If you’re a small business owner, I challenge you to help spread the seeds of entrepreneurship and fertilize them with hope. I believe there is no better time to make this statement than during National Small Business Week.

While your monetary commitment can be quite small, your impact is sure to be great.

Join us in sending the message around that world, that entrepreneurship is alive and well!

To learn more about KIVA and how you can help, please visit www.kiva.org

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Jeff,

    A year or so ago, my daughter sent me a $25 Kiva gift certificate. Since she leans a bit toward the “bleeding heart” side of the political spectrum, my first reaction was the classic eye role and assumption that I was about to see yet another group sitting around expecting a handout.

    Then I read and realized it’s NOT a handout. It’s a loan to a fellow entrepreneur. Brilliant! Just made my 43rd Kiva loan and I intend to continue. Great idea spreading the word!

    Todd

  2. Jeff Wolfe says:

    Todd,

    That’s a great story! You have defintely provided a substantial spark to entrepreneurs across the world!

    It’s ironic how I first learned about KIVA. It was my last day with Stafford Development and I was walking through the facility with my replacement and assisting with the transition in Tifton.

    I noticed a book that contained several printouts in it and picked it up to read throught it while I had a couple of minutes. I was intrigued by the program and individual stories. I was also inspired by the fact that KIVA allows ordinary people to provide loans to entrepreneurs around the world.

    Like you, I see the benefit in the fact that we’re able to provide a “hand” and not a “handout.”

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    Jeff

  3. Katrena says:

    This is great. I applaud you for your innovation, and your passion. I wish you MUCH success in this endeavor, and I would love to know how KIVA progresses. Perhaps you can share your story with our audience. Stay well!

    1. Jeff Wolfe says:

      Dear Katrena,

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

      One of the things that I like best about participating in this program is the fact that so many people collaborate in order to provide the full loan amount. For instance, the poultry producers that I mentioned in Uganda were funded by a total of 42 lenders.

      I was also impressed to learn the following information from KIVA’s site, for this week (only):

      1 loan every 14 seconds
      2682 new lenders joined
      3860 entrepreneurs funded
      18,799 lenders made a loan
      1,003 gift certificates purchased

      Also, the cumulative repayment rate, as of today is 98.15%.

      Very impressive statistics!

      I’ll be sure to let you how it goes.

      Thanks again for your kind words and for visiting my blog.

      Regards,

      Jeff

    2. Jeff Wolfe says:

      I’m happy to report that two loan recipients made payments today! Another sign that when given a chance, entrepreneurs around the world thrive!

  4. Todd Schnick says:

    Hey Jeff, thanks for sharing this idea. I am working with another individual who is raising money for a entrepreneurial micro-financing program in Africa, and it seems to be really exciting work.

    I wasn’t familiar with KIVA, so thanks for raising my awareness…

  5. Jeff Wolfe says:

    Todd,

    Thanks for stopping by! I was amazed by the repayment rate of 98.15%.

    It sounds like your friend is doing some great work, as well. I would be interested in learning more!

    Thanks again for stopping by.

    Jeff

  6. Jeff Wolfe says:

    Due to the fact that a few loans were partially paid off this month, I was able to apply the funds toward the loans of two more entrepreneurs. A total of 3,991 entrepreneurs were funded around the globe this week!

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