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Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Social Entrepreneurship: Kiva

Academic Case Study by:
David P. Baron
Published: 2008
[photo - David P. Baron]

After hearing a talk by Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist, about an innovative program to provide loans to beggars, Jessica Jackley Flannery became convinced that microfinance “was the coolest thing in the world.” In 2004, she and her husband Matt Flannery went to Africa and began discussing how they could contribute to microfinance.

In October 2005, they ran a pilot Internet trial with eight Ugandan entrepreneurs. The couple sent an e-mail to people on their wedding guest list announcing the opportunity to lend. Over a weekend, all eight entrepreneurs were fully funded. The duo also sent out a press release that was posted on Daily Kos, and $10,000 was raised in one day. The first person-to-person microlending organization was born. This case describes Kiva’s operations and introduces the challenges that the organization faced as it grew.

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Paper Copy: You may purchase this case from Harvard Business Publishing.

Case No: P70

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