Can Online Investing End Poverty?
Invest Wisely. End Poverty. This is the goal of eBay's new online microfinance investment marketplace, MicroPlace. While online microlending has been growing more popular with peer-to-peer offerings such as the non-profit Kiva.org, MicroPlace is charting a whole new course in the microfinance industry, offering socially-minded Americans a new way to offer microloans to entrepreneurs in the developing world. As the only broker-dealer in the microfinance arena, MicroPlace is the first and only online service offering a way for investors to invest in the working poor, and earn both a social and financial return on the investment. On March 19th, a panel of experts on social development and microfinance discussed MicroPlace's potential to reach everyday investors in the United States, as well as the opportunity to help people in developing countries. The event also touched on the larger themes of microfinance policy and fighting poverty, including how loans provided by microfinance institutions can help the working poor come out of poverty and begin to realize the possibilities of longer-term assets such as a thriving business, home, and nest-egg for retirement, as well as the systemic and institutional challenges the microfinance industry faces in reaching the world's poor.