Microfinance platform Kiva is moving into a salon near you thanks to a collaboration with professional skincare company Dermalogica. The pair are teaming up to launch JoinFITE (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship), a global entrepreneurship platform that will offer microloans to women in 56 countries. Over the next two years, JoinFITE will finance 25,000 female entrepreneurs—with a little help from Dermalogica's customers.
Starting this week, Dermalogica's top five products (including Daily Microfoliant, Total Eyecare, and Skin Hydrating Booster) will come with special sleeves that allow customers to log onto JoinFITE and trigger a $1 microloan to the female entrepreneur of their choice. Dermalogica is giving $500,000 to Kiva for educational outreach and initial microloans.
"I've always been invested in women's issues because women have built our industry," explains Jane Wurwand, founder of Dermalogica. "Ninety eight percent of salons and spas are owned by independent women entrepreneurs."
Wurwand invested considerable resources into JoinFITE. Dermalogica is now focusing all of its philanthropic assets on JoinFITE, and all 25,000 salons and spas that sell Dermalogica products have been made aware of the microloan program. The company is also asking that its initial microloan investment not be paid back—instead, Wurwand wants the cash to be paid forward to other female entrepreneurs.
Kiva is taking care of the selection process for entrepreneurs, scouring its network of 125 financial institutions in 57 countries for potential candidates. "This is the first time we're partnering with a company in a major way to bring the Kiva experience offline and into retail," says Bennett Grassano, Kiva's director of development.
But this won't be the last retail partnership for the JoinFITE initiative. Dermalogica has already secured partnerships with Seventh Generation, Dansko, and Lifetime Television, among others. The company is announcing more partnerships in the coming weeks.
"I arrived in the U.S. with $14,000 in funding for Dermalogica and bootstrapped it up," says Wurwand. "My passion lies in getting as many women into their own business as possible."