November 8, 2010

Invest in entrepreneurs for social good

Invest in entrepreneurs for social good from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

InVenture supports small business owners in developing world

JD LasicaHere’s a short interview with Shivani Siroya, the personable and passionate founder and CEO of InVenture (“Invest in good”), an online platform that allows everyday individuals to invest directly in business owners of their choosing in Ghana, Mali, India and Mexico, thus helping lift their communities out of poverty.

It’s another brilliant example of how micro-finance and crowd-funding can make a real difference in the lives of both individuals and local communities.

“It’s powerful and amazing to see the entrepreneurs succeeding, giving back and becoming leaders.”

Here’s how it works: Sort through the list of 36 participating entrepreneurs. Invest any amount, beginning at $25. Now, feel the power of socially enlightened capitalism. As the site points out, “Each entrepreneur has paid back his/her original principal, is meeting returns of 15% or higher, and is reinvesting in local social causes like public health and vocational training for school girls.”

Says Shivani: “As opposed to a loan, where you just get your money back, you’re able to actually participate in the growth of this business.” As their business grows, you get a chunk of it, but instead of cashing out — remember, this is for social good — you can reinvest in other small businesses in InVenture or donate to the community. Each business owner reinvests back into his or her local community.

“This is really about creating jobs and reinvesting back into the underlying community,” she says. “It’s powerful and amazing to see the entrepreneurs succeeding, giving back and becoming leaders in their own right.”

Watch or embed the video (or download the hi-def version) on Vimeo

InVenture recently received an award from Startup Chile along with the Chilean government to bring its model to Chile and will begin the process of finding a partner and logistical planning there in January.

Shivani, whose background is in microfinance and public health, notes that her organization partners with microfinance institutions and non-governmental organizations to identify business owners to include in the marketplace and then goes beyond those traditional ties to bring the wider community to the table as well. I’ve made an investment and hope you will, too. Continue reading