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Can Microloans Lift Women Out of Poverty?

In 2006, Mohammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering the industry of microloans. Microloans enable hard-working individuals, especially women in poverty, to access capital that is needed to launch or expand their businesses. Traditional banks require borrowers to provide collateral, credit history, or formal education in order to qualify. These conditions are often unattainable by people in poverty, especially women. Poor children in these households often have to forgo education in order to help out the family - thus poverty becomes a trap.

One of the most successful microloans online platforms is KIVA. By working with their local lending partners on the ground who are tasked with vetting the borrowers, providing services and administering the loans in the community, KIVA is able to take advantage of raising funds globally but administrating the loans locally. We are excited to learn more about KIVA from our guest speaker this weekend, Ms. Natalie Ngu:

Natalie Ngu is a Strategic Partnerships Associate of KIVA. Kiva ( is a mission-driven technology non-profit. KIVA runs a global marketplace platform for crowd-funded micro-loans to serve the financially excluded in sectors such as education, water, clean energy, and refugee resettlement. Kiva combines the culture and approach of an internet start-up with a mission to alleviate poverty. KIVA aims to drive social impact and enable opportunity while providing a borrower-to-lender connection. In 15 years, Kiva has raised nearly $1.5 billion in loan capital for more than 2 million borrowers in 84 countries. Kiva’s lenders fund over $1 million in loans every 3 days.

Meanwhile, having access to capital is just the first step to having a successful business. Women and the Economy Online Forum students will be looking into all borrowers in their assigned countries on KIVA, choosing one with the best potential based on last week's SWOT and Landscape analyses. Each team will be creating a marketing plan for their chosen woman business owner. Please join us and observe what the teams can create in the coming weeks.

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