The company launched their initiative at two ASCii Group SMB Success Summits in Toronto, Canada and Columbus, OH. Rather than offering promotional items to event attendees, Retrospect made a $5 donation toward micro loans for each attendee who stopped at their trade-show booth during the Success Summit events.
Through Kiva, that money was lent in sums of $25 to small business owners around the world to fulfill varying needs. Once loans are repaid, the money will be re-lent to other businesses.
Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, CA, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential.
“Every year we spend thousands of dollars on promotional items to give out at trade shows-pens, snack foods, etc.-things that are engaging, but don’t necessarily help anyone. I decided that this money could be put to be better use if we loaned it out through Kiva.org, and as a small business ourselves, we like that we can help to support other small businesses around the world,” said Retrospect’s director of WW marketing, Kristin Goedert. “This is a great way for us to make a huge impact not only in someone’s life, but in their community as well, since most of these businesses support a community. Plus I really like that a person attending a trade show in Columbus Ohio can help fulfill a $275 loan to a woman in India so that she can buy a buffalo just by stopping by a trade show booth to say ‘hi!’“
To date Retrospect has helped to fund 13 loans, including:
- A loan of $125 to a woman in Negros Oriental, Philippines for the purchase both fresh and dried fish to grow her fish selling business.
- A loan of $275 to a woman in Gujarat, India for the purchase of a buffalo to expand her animal husbandry business and add buffalo-based dairy products to her offerings.
- A loan of $2,500 to a man in Richmond, CA for the purchase of food service equipment for his catering business and to cover the cost of permits to sell food at local farmers markets.
- A loan of $1,100 to a man in Iganga, Uganda for the purchase of a water filtration system to provide clean drinking water for students at the Tim Tasha School in Bugumba, Iganga.
All of Retrospect’s loans can be viewed on their Kiva donor page.