UnitedProsperity.org Revolutionizes Giving to Help Poor Entrepreneurs Get Microloans

UnitedProsperity.org, the world's first person-to-person loan guaranteeing website enables individual givers to double the impact of their contributions while enabling the world's poorest entrepreneurs to get microloans to grow their small businesses.

Using an innovative 'microloan guarantee' a new San Francisco area non-profit website (http://www.unitedprosperity.org) is enabling individual givers to nearly double the impact of their small contributions to fund the poorest entrepreneurs in the world. UnitedProsperity.org is the world's first person-to-person microloan guaranteeing website.

Example of a microloan guarantee
Here is how an actual UnitedProsperity.org microloan guarantee worked. Farida (http://www.unitedprosperity.org/us/entrepreneur/6), a woman living in extreme poverty in India, supports her family by sewing children's school uniforms. She wanted to grow her business to afford schooling for her own children. The cost for two more foot-powered sewing machines for Farida was $175, but the bank would not loan that to her since she had no credit history and the amount was too small. So Farida applied for a microloan to a local Microfinance Institution (MFI). MFI's are somewhat like a credit union, but may deal with banks on behalf of small entrepreneurs.

The MFI packaged Farida's request with five others into a borrowing group and asked a bank for the $1052 it needed in total. Based on factors including the MFI's credit record, the bank decided to provide the full loan of $1052, if UnitedProsperity.org would guarantee the repayment of $578. UnitedProsperity.org raised the $578 online from twelve international contributors and deposited that amount in a savings account with the bank. Shortly thereafter Farida's group got the full $1052 they were seeking.

UnitedProsperity.org supports entrepreneurs, mostly women, who are in extreme poverty, which is often estimated by the World Bank and others as living on less than US $2/day. The UnitedProsperity.org website profiles poor entrepreneurs who need a microloan, often less than $200 each, to buy raw materials, upgrade rudimentary manufacturing equipment, buy farm supplies, or increase inventory for small shops and stores.

A microloan guarantee means that a group of UnitedProsperity.org contributors agree to pay the local lending institution if the impoverished borrower doesn't. This creates a stronger initial borrowing position for a person who is living in extreme poverty. And by having part of the loan guaranteed the risk is less, so local banks are willing to release almost twice the guaranteed amount. When the microloan is repaid, the contributors get their money back. Microcredit, pioneered by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, generally has repayment rates in excess of 95%.

From the Founding to the Future
The founder of UnitedProsperity.org, Bhalchander Vishwanath said, "Nearly 2.5 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty. They do not have access to basic necessities which most of us take for granted. Helping so many people come out of poverty mandates that we utilize every dollar to its fullest extent to provide the greatest social impact. Microloan guarantees maximize the impact for individual givers." UnitedProsperity.org contributors, who Mr. Vishwanath calls 'compassionate social guarantors,' do not receive interest from their contributions.

Mr. Vishwanath left his job in 2007 to start UnitedProsperity.org, and the beta version of the website went live in the summer of 2009. UnitedProsperity.org has garnered support from several individuals, corporations and institutions for setting up operations. To date, UnitedProsperity.org has raised funds for nearly 200 entrepreneurs living in one of India's poorest states. The funds have been contributed by more than 140 contributors from 15 countries. Plans call for an expansion soon to other countries to serve more entrepreneurs like Farida living in extreme poverty.