With the holidays approaching, it is common for most of us to take a little time to reflect on our lives and the year that is coming to an end. It is also a time that most of us give thanks for all that we have, and we try to find ways to give back to those who are less fortunate. There are so many ways that we can help out in our own communities and I am truly grateful to be able to do so. It is a joyous feeling to give to others.

Many businesses are also experiencing difficult times in this economy.  As entrepreneurs, we are acutely aware of the challenges that we face in our own businesses on a day to day basis. But, whatever our situation is at this time, it pales in comparison to what many people face in other countries. Increasingly women are faced with having to find a way to earn money to help support their families when they have little or no skills. Even those folks that have a talent or a skill set typically have no money to start a business. 

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with a wonderful organization called Kiva.  Kiva’s mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. And, you can change someone’s life for as little as $25.00.  Imagine that!

This wonderful organization does small loans to individuals to help them get started in a business, which in turn helps them out of the hopelessness that poverty brings. Currently 98.99% of all Kiva loans have been repaid. That statistic is quite extraordinary when you think about the struggles these budding entrepreneurs face every day.


Here are a few other Kiva statistics for you.

-The total value of all loans made through Kiva is just over $174,000,00.

-Over a half million Kiva Users have funded a loan.

-There are 208 countries represented by Kiva Lenders.

-Almost a half million entrepreneurs have received a loan through Kiva.

-The average loan size is $381.15.

-The average number of loans per Kiva lender is 6.49.

One other statistic that jumps out at me is that 81.79% of all loans are made to women entrepreneurs. This shows the phenomenal shift that is taking place in some of the poorer countries where women are not only joining the workforce, but they are opening their own businesses.

During this holiday season, I would encourage all of you to take the thought of giving back one step further and consider making a small loan through Kiva; a gift that will surely change a life. I am getting ready to make my first loan and I can tell you, it feels wonderful. I just have to choose my “person”. For more information or to learn how you can change someone’s live go to http://www.kiva.org.

Here's wishing everyone a happy and joyous Thanksgiving!

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