MicroPlace Launches Investment Website to Address Global Poverty
New Service Allows U.S. Consumers to Invest in Microfinance with as Little as $100
SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MicroPlace, a wholly-owned subsidiary of eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), today announced the launch of a new website (www.microplace.com) that provides an easy way for everyday people to invest in the world’s working poor by leveraging the power of microfinance, a proven solution to alleviate global poverty.
“MicroPlace now offers an easy way for the everyday investor to participate in microfinance; the opportunity to receive a return on their investment; and empower the world’s working poor to lift themselves from poverty.”
With the launch of MicroPlace.com, for the first time, consumers in the U.S. can use the internet to make microfinance investments that can provide a financial return while also addressing global poverty. Additionally, MicroPlace’s unique business model was designed to create a self-sustaining marketplace to serve as an efficient and scalable way for capital to flow into the microfinance industry.
“In the past, microfinance investing has generally been pursued by large financial institutions or high-net-worth individuals, and has been less accessible for most people,” said Tracey Pettengill Turner, Founder and General Manager of MicroPlace. “MicroPlace now offers an easy way for the everyday investor to participate in microfinance; the opportunity to receive a return on their investment; and empower the world’s working poor to lift themselves from poverty.”
Through MicroPlace’s secure platform, everyday people can purchase investments – for as little as $100 – from microfinance security issuers. MicroPlace also enables investors to direct the impact of their investment to a specific country and microfinance institution in the developing world. The microfinance institutions use the funds to make small loans to the working poor, who in turn use the loans to start or expand small businesses and lift themselves out of poverty.
At launch, MicroPlace will offer the ability to direct investments to Africa, Eurasia, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Individuals can visit www.microplace.com to research investment opportunities, make investments, and learn more about microfinance and global poverty. Investments can be purchased using PayPal or a checking account at a U.S. bank. As a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of FINRA (formerly NASD), MicroPlace is currently the only broker-dealer specializing in microfinance securities for retail investors.
Working with an industry-leading security issuer
MicroPlace has selected Calvert Social Investment Foundation – a leader in community investment that manages investments for over 2,500 individuals and institutions seeking to support communities around the world through their portfolios – as the first issuer to sell investments on MicroPlace. Calvert Foundation will use the funds generated from the sale of securities on MicroPlace to invest in the specific fund selected by individual investors. Calvert Foundation will also be responsible for making interest and principal payments to investors.
“Calvert Foundation has been working hard for over 10 years to mobilize individual investor capital to support microfinance,” said Shari Berenbach, executive director of Calvert Foundation. “Working with MicroPlace gives us the opportunity to offer microfinance investments for as little as $100 for the first time. We believe this will enable more individuals to invest in microfinance and help grow the industry as a whole to significantly improve the lives of the working poor around the world.”
Understanding the demand and power of microfinance
Microfinance is the provision of financial services to the working poor, primarily in developing countries. Widely recognized as an effective tool against poverty, the most common microfinance service is the provision of small loans – often as low as $50 – to assist the working poor in their efforts to lift themselves from poverty through their own hard work and entrepreneurial spirit.
Today, 1.3 billion of the world’s working poor live below the international poverty line, earning less than U.S. $2 a day1. Since the inception of microfinance in 1974, more than 100 million people – the majority of them women2 – have borrowed microfinance loans with historic repayment rates averaging 97 percent3. It is estimated that about 500 million people run microbusinesses, yet fewer than 10 million of these people – or about 2.5 percent – are able to obtain loans from banks or traditional lending institutions4. To satisfy this demand, the microfinance industry will need substantial amounts of additional investment capital. By providing access to everyday investors in the U.S., MicroPlace has opened up a substantial new channel to acquire the investment capital the industry needs to grow.
MicroPlace (www.microplace.com), founded in 2006, is an investment marketplace whose mission is to alleviate global poverty by enabling everyday people to invest in the world’s working poor. As a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of FINRA (formerly NASD), MicroPlace is currently the only broker-dealer specializing in microfinance securities for retail investors. MicroPlace is a wholly-owned subsidiary of eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY).
1 Source: International Labour Organization’s Global Employment Trends Brief www.ilo.org/public/english/employment/strat/global.htm
2 Source: Microcredit Summit Campaign Report, http://www.microcreditsummit.org/pubs/reports/socr/2006/SOCR06.pdf