Just in case you haven’t heard of Kiva. It is an organization that connects individual lenders to individual entrepreneurs in the developing world and beyond. It is the essence of microlending championed so effectively in Bangladesh. Where Kiva differs is its ability to remove local banking structures from the equation and indeed focus on international lenders, thereby increading the capital pool dramatically.

These is not charity. These loans are repaid over time. I have received 20% of my original loan back within three weeks. That is a zippy repayment rate by anyone’ standards.

The minimum loan is $25 (via Paypal or credit card). Everything is very transparent. In fact, supply is outstripping demand in this respect. Often I visit the site to see that there are more lenders than recipients.

Each entrepreneur has a photo and biography and a statement of their business plan. Highly recommended.

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By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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