Jesse Willms On Why He Supports The Kiva Foundation
Microfinancing is one of the best ways to help people in developing nations escape from poverty, Internet entrepreneur Jesse Willms said yesterday. That is why he has chosen to partner with the Kiva Foundation in their efforts to provide micro loans to third-world entrepreneurs.
Jesse Willms is an Internet success story who has decided recently to focus much of his time and effort on philanthropic concerns. He did so, he says, because he was inspired by the charitable works of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Willms is well known in the Internet marketing industry for launching several Internet marketing companies by the time he was 22 years old.
Willms said he decided to make Kiva one of the organizations to support after reading about their incredible success rate: More than 98 percent of the loans they facilitate are paid back. This means that Kiva's recipients have been able to put the money to good use and become successful business owners.
What Kiva does is both innovative and simple, Willms said. The way to help people out of poverty and into the middle class is to help them start or expand their own businesses. This has been shown to be far more effective over time than simply giving people money on a charitable basis.
In developing nations, it costs very little to start up a new business--often well under $200--but it is almost impossible for these citizens to get traditional bank loans. Kiva allows people to seek out budding entrepreneurs, read about how they will use the money for their business, and then give them the loan if they so choose.
Willms decided to start out his partnership with Kiva by loaning $1,000, which was given to 10 people (five men and five women) in various developing countries. When those loans are paid back, he said, he plans to use the $1,000 to fund loans for additional people.
In that way, Willms said, what he gives Kiva is a donation and not a true loan. He also noted that he plans to expand his partnership with Kiva in the near future, and will make an announcement about that new initiative once the details have been finalized.
His partnership with Kiva is one of several ways Willms has started donating part of his wealth back to the community.
Earlier this year he announced a partnership with the World Vision children's charity. He initially sponsored 100 children through World Vision and has sponsored an additional child every day since.
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