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Live from Pop!Tech: Today’s Social Capitalist Assignment

Overwhelmed by the thought of tackling world poverty? Join the club. When you hear that three billion people live on less than $2 a day, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Enter Kiva, a super convenient microfinancing nonprofit started by husband and wife entrepreneurs Jessica and Matt Flannery, who were inspired by Grameen Bank’s Muhammad Yunus. You go to the Kiva site, choose a cash-strapped entrepreneur in the developing world, and lend him or her money (as little as $25, via Pay Pal) to grow the business. “I wanted to get involved in international development,” Jessica told the Pop!Tech crowd. “But I wasn’t sure how. How does a random white girl from middle-class Pitsburgh get involved?”

In the two years since starting Kiva, the Flannerys have helped more than 20,000 Third-World entrepreneurs gain access to more than $13 million in funds.

You can make loans as an individual and as a group. So. How about teaming up today with your colleagues? Make a loan and track the progress of that business. You get your money back along with the satisfaction of helping an entrepreneur.

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