Peru State Business Students Support Struggling Entrepreneurs in Peru, Honduras and Ecuador
(Peru, Neb.) Peru State College’s (PSC) Organizational Ethics class did more than just study the ethics of social entrepreneurship during the spring semester; they took action to raise funds to help entrepreneurs like Odilia, a single mother living in the backcountry of Ayacucho, Peru, expand her modest butcher shop.
Inspired by what they learned in their ethics class about micro lending and how far a small loan can go to improve lives in developing countries, Lincoln senior Ryan Hiatt and Sargent sophomore Candace Simmons held a barbeque fundraiser and invited classmates and friends to donate to a Kiva microloan fund.
Kiva (a Swahili word meaning “unity” or “agreement”) was founded in October 2005 as a microfinance lending platform that connects individual lenders with entrepreneurs worldwide. Loans as small as $25 can be made through Kiva, the primary mission of which is to promote dignity and alleviate poverty through support of entrepreneurial enterprises.
The group raised a total of $804 to support Kiva operations and to loan out to individual entrepreneurs. In addition to Odilia, the group made loans to a soft drink distributor in Honduras, and a single 19-year old farmer and a married 27 year-old storekeeper, both in Ecuador.
PSC Associate Business Professor Christy Hutchison said, “These students understand that by investing in a business they are not giving a one-time gift of charity; they are providing a foundation for the sustained economic independence of an entire family.”
In 8 months, when Odilia repays her $150 loan, the funds will be loaned again to another entrepreneur through Kiva and its network of field partners in 196 countries.
Hiatt said, “We are happy to let the next PSC ethics class add to our account and choose more business ventures to support next year.”
Kiva entrepreneurs have a 98.57 percent repayment rate on total loans exceeding $136 million. The average Kiva loan is $392.45. More information about Kiva can be found at www.kiva.com.