February 18, 2010
Kiva co-founder Jessica Jackley will speak on "Harnessing the Power of Perspective" at the 2010 Minter Lecture at Oklahoma Baptist University Monday, March 1, at 10 a.m. in OBU's Geiger Center.
Kiva is the world's first peer-to-peer microloan Web site. At www.kiva.org, users can make microloans directly to specific developing world entrepreneurs, who then use the money to start or grow a small business, and lift themselves out of poverty. Loans start at $25.
Named one of the top ideas of 2006 by The New York Times Magazine, Kiva is one of the fastest-growing social benefit Web sites in history. Since its founding in 2005, it has loaned more than $100 million from lenders to entrepreneurs across 182 countries. The company expects to have loaned more than $1 billion to the world's working poor by 2012.
The company's stated mission, "To connect people through lending to alleviate poverty," is tied to the concept that relationships are a powerful force for positive change.
"Our students have a mindset of wanting to make a difference in the world," said Dr. Dan Reeder, interim dean of OBU's Paul Dickinson School of Business and professor of business. "Kiva is following a business model which is truly making a difference in people's lives through micro-lending."
The Minter Lectureship, underwritten by 1940 OBU graduate Lloyd G. Minter of Bartlesville, Okla., is designed to provide orientation and training for students in the history and nature of the American economic system and to help students understand and appreciate the professional community. It also promotes proper management of personal finances.
"Dr. Minter valued the importance of using your business career to impact the world for Christ," Reeder said. "As students learn about the business practices of companies such as Kiva, they can realize their own potential as Christian professionals in the marketplace."
Jackley, a finalist for TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2009, said she first saw the power and dignity of microfinance while working in East Africa with a microenterprise non-profit. She has worked for public, nonprofit, and private organizations including the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Amazon and others. In 2009, she began work on ProFounder, which provides ways for small businesses in the United States to access start-up funding through community involvement. She also teaches global entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
She earned an MBA degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and political science. Through her lectures discussing a wide range of current issues, Jackley notes that at the heart of social entrepreneurism there will always remain the connection between two human beings.
In "Harnessing the Power of Perspective," Jackley discusses the path that led her to create Kiva shortly after graduation.