Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life. Teach a woman to fish and you feed a village.
Every entrepreneur should come to understand what microcredit is teaching us. This movement is teaching us about the very foundation of our free enterprise system. It is teaching us where compassion lives within our framework of self interest. It is showing us that we are right to believe that opportunity brings out the best in us in ways that charity does not.
In terms of providing “aid” to struggling countries, the US is quite generous. However, the results of our aid are often heart breaking, with much of it being wasted by the governments that are supposed to get it to their people.
Charity has its place. Opportunity, however is the jet engine that moves charity to increase a person’s standard of living. As Americans, we believe that opportunity is the seed from which freedom springs.
Microcredit is opportunity. It is the process of making small loans to individuals in countries that do not share our freedoms… yet. These loans are given to individuals who wish to build businesses in their communities. Initial loans are often no more than US$50.00. Payback rates are well above 90%, and typically approach 100%. It is women who are taking the most advantage of microlending opportunities. This is good, because they tend to invest their profits in their children and their community.
DiscoverHope is a “blended” microcredit organization headquartered in Austin and focusing on South America. I support DiscoverHope because they don’t just loan money, but have built education centers to teach their clients how to build and run a business.
I love the thought that my donations to DiscoverHope will create value over and over and over. This is what we want in our businesses. Why not demand it of our giving?
DiscoverHope is home-grown goodness, started right here in Austin, Texas. In classic Austin tradition, DiscoverHope is using music to express their gratitude and raise more funds for sprouting entrepreneurs in Peru. It’s Saturday, September 26.
You should buy a ticket. The $25 you pay goes right to DiscoverHope activities.
You should also plan to come. You’re going to meet people who have a positive, expansive vision for how we can give back some of the bounty we enjoy here in America.
Do you give out of guilt, or give out of gratitude? Come mingle in a room full of the grateful, and see if you don’t start the next day with a fresh attitude.