How are Bill Clinton, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Magento, HP, PepsiCo and OneStepCheckout giving back to the community?

KIVA - Loans that change lives

Our last two posts were about our team members. Now it’s time to blog about others. About those who like us, are aspiring to succeed through hard work and entrepreneurship but didn’t have the chance to have easy access to free higher education or modern infrastructures like here in Norway. Those same people who want to get out of poverty and be able to cover all their needs and that of their families through commerce and trading goods. To those people, we want to give a hand, encouragement and resources to get them started. That’s why we chose to provide microloans through Kiva.

Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the Internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Isn’t it the perfect match for OneStepCheckout whose mission is also to leverage the Internet to allow online stores to increase their conversion rate and maximize profits?

It totally makes sense and that’s why even in its early days, our company started giving back. We created our Kiva lenders account in December 2009 and to date we have given out 230 loans.

In fact, Kiva makes sense for the whole eCommerce community and has been embraced by the Magento ecosystem. The members of the Magento Kiva Lending Team feel the same deep motivation around “to stimulating entrepreneurship and commerce in developing countries”, “enabling others’ success”, “encouraging global economy” or “giving a head start to those less fortunate than us”. Alan Kent, VP of Architecture at Magento Commerce is fully supporting this initiative and encouraging individuals in our industry to join the team.

President Bill Clinton himself sees the broader impact where economic success drives education and peace in less fortunate regions of the world: “If you look at Kiva.org, people with a very modest amount of money can make a huge positive impact all around the world. There are so many people who want to give but don’t really know how to do it. Through Kiva.org, people around the world can become micro-bankers to developing world entrepreneurs, who have their own ideas, so we can give them a chance to raise their kids with dignity, send their kids to school, and in troubled places like Afghanistan we can marginally increase the chance that peace can prevail, because people will see there is a positive alternative to conflict.”

Team Norway is the 4th biggest country team lender after Team Canada, Team Australia, Team Europe and Team Belgium! Way to go small countries! But for us, the way they express their motivation is #1!!! “We loan because: We have Cold Weather – Warm hearts! We believe that providing microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries is the socially responsive way of helping people break the circle of poverty.”

Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, PepsiCo, and HP are Kiva lenders too. Now you don’t have to be a big organization or celebrity to be part of it. Lots of individuals contribute too.

Get started today, and follow the simple steps from Alan Kent:

  1. Register your email address on kiva.org
  2. Join Team Magento – do this before making any loans.
  3. Have a look at what loans others in Team Magento have already contributed to. You might like to add to an existing loan that is not fully funded yet. (Go to the “Loans” tab on the team Magento page and look for ones marked “raising funds”.)
  4. Otherwise, look for a new request for a loan. You can search by a number of factors. Team Magento is trying to encourage commerce, so you might prefer to find someone raising money to kick-start a business.
  5. When you make a loan, make sure you associate it with Team Magento so it is associated with the team.
  6. You can pay with PayPal.
  7. Feel good knowing you helped someone.

Last but not least, all this, including our 230 loans wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our customers, resellers and partners in the Magento Ecosystem, so THANK YOU, from the bottom of our heart.

Thien-Lan WeberAbout Thien-Lan Weber

Thien-Lan is the Chief Marketing Officer at OneStepCheckout. She's been focusing on all aspects of Consumer Marketing for 15 years in France and Australia working for Accenture, Clarins, Johnson & Johnson, eBay and PayPal. Thien-Lan loves connecting people and helping retailers get the most out of eCommerce. She is a wife and proud mum of two boys. She blogs in English and en français.