How does UFC in Shenzhen help for Charity
SCOTT: Each month at the UFC event at Xpats you charge 30¥ admission which you donate to Kiva. What or who is Kiva?
IAN JONES: Kiva is an international microfinancing system that takes and aggregates small, charitable donations and provides loans to individuals and groups around the world. Typically our donation will be $US25 to $50. Loans are primarily for business start up or expansion but also for personal development. It was formed in 2005 and has loaned US$192 million to almost half a million people in 210 countries – it makes one loan every 16 seconds – so has really taken off globally.
DAVID JACOBS: With traditional financing, small business entrepreneurs in poverty stricken countries have no chance of getting institutional style finance so microfinance is a practical alternative. The beauty of the Kiva system is that once the loan is repaid the funds are again available for lending, so in theory the donation we collect at Xpats for the monthly UFC event could help a different entrepreneur in a different country every year.
IAN JONES: We both find it amusing that guys come to Xpats to see men belting each other up on UFC and are actually helping people in remote and disadvantaged parts of the world.
SCOTT: How do you select who to donate to?
IAN JONES: We review the loans waiting to be filled on the Kiva website and select from there. Dave and I have both worked for Fortune 500 companies and handled millions of dollars in contracts so it’s funny that we now review who to donate $25 to. Even though I don’t think our customers really care where the money goes, we have a responsibility to disburse their donations that I take very seriously; and accordingly I research the loans quite thoroughly. So far using Kiva we have not had delinquency on any of our loans.
DAVID JACOBS: We focus on small business entrepreneurs as both of us left the corporate world to focus on our own small businesses and understand the pressures and demands when you have to fight hard to have profit at the end of each month.
SCOTT: What are some of the loans you have made?
IAN JONES: Our first loan was in July 2009 to a Cambodian lady to extend her crafts business. Since then; a café in Tanzania, a farmer in Peru, a taxi driver in Azerbaijan, a soap retailer in Mali – all of these people have interesting stories and are successful business people in their own right.
DAVID JACOBS: Being in the bar business we lent to a liquor store in South Sudan, a bar in Sierra Leone and recently to a pub in Uganda; so we ought to be looked after on our next African pub crawl!!
SCOTT: How do you keep track of all the loans you make?
DAVID JACOBS: Kiva has a really good website where we can review our loans, download the information and research new loans plus we get a monthly email update with progress reports on all the loans.
IAN JONES: I spent 25 years in the IT industry and am a bit of an iPhreak with all the apps I have on my iPhone; so of course I have an app that I can view all of the loans we have made.
SCOTT: Is Kiva the only charity you support?
DAVID JACOBS: We do support other charities on a case by case basis. Our customers donated to the Sichuan earthquake appeal and last month we raised US$400 for the Queensland flood relief fund. It’s part of our civic responsibility to help those in need.