Last week, Advanta, a major provider of small business credit cards, announced that it has partnered with Kiva.org to launch KivaB4B, an initiative that gives small business owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to increase their contribution to the social cause of microlending. The KivaB4B program encourages entrepreneurs in the U.S. to support their counterparts in developing countries by making microloans through Kiva. Advanta small business customers who make a loan using their Advanta credit card will get their grant matched by Advanta for up to $200 per month.
With KivaB4B, Advanta and Kiva have tapped into a very powerful cause in the entrepreneurial community: business-to-business giving. In my experience meeting and writing about small business owners, I have always been struck by how quick entrepreneurs are to lend a hand to a fellow business owner just starting out, or advise an entrepreneur who may be stumbling through the growth process.
Yet small businesses are often reluctant to align themselves with social causes because they may not have the means to make the kind of substantial contribution that a larger, public company could. Same goes for the average person looking to make a difference. The minimal financial commitment needed to make a microloan is precisely the appeal of social causes like Kiva. The average entrepreneur on Kiva.org is requesting less than a $1,000 loan. KivaB4B extends that appeal to the small business arena, allowing small businesses the opportunity to double their social impact with just a couple hundred dollars.
There is also the aspect of personal connection when lending through Kiva. Borrower profiles not only help lenders put a face to a name, but it also gives small business owners the opportunity to select a personal story that they connect with or locate a specific business sector they wish to support. As part of the KivaB4B launch activities last week, an Advanta customer was introduced to the entrepreneur she loaned to through Kiva, a seamstress from Samoa. This marked the first time that a Kiva borrower has been brought to the United States to meet face-to-face with her American supporter. You can read more about the Samoan seamstress, Senerita Mataomaile's story at this link. The meeting of Senerita Mataomaile and her lender, San Francisco-based filmmaker Karil Daniels, is just one of the many inspiring stories on the KivaB4B site and a great example of entrepreneurs connecting through Kiva and through the cause of microlending.
What do you think of the KivaB4B initiative? Are you more inclined to give to a social cause if you know you could double your financial impact?