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Social Entrepreneur Speaker

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Social Entrepreneur Jessica Jackley speaking at LSU Union Theater Social Entrepreneur Jessica Jackley speaking at LSU Union Theater

By Kristian Schooler | LSU Student

Stories are a big deal for Jessica Jackley, founder of Kiva.org, a micro-lending web site. She enlightens others about her journey creating a successful digital loan business based primarily on hearing the personal accounts of others.

Jackley, who talked recently at the LSU Union Theater, said she believes stories have the power to shape what people think possible for their lives, the lives of others and the possibilities of creating together.

She founded Kiva.org, which allows lenders to view profiles of potential borrowers and to make loans of $25 or more to those they find most appealing.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro lending website, according to LSU Student Activities Board (SAB). Lenders will get all of their money back, if the borrower makes a high enough profit margin on his or her venture.

Repayment rate for loans is more than 98 percent, says Jackley, adding that some $300 million has been loaned to date in more than 200 countries.

With this website, one can choose to help someone across the globe with a business start-up or keep up with the venture.

The first Kiva loans, totaling $3,500, were made in April 2005. The original entrepreneurs became known as the "Dream Team," repaying their loans within five months.

Jackley encouraged her LSU audience to think "selfishly" and to take her words and mistakes and incorporate them into our own stories.

Social entrepreneurship is about creating value for many and making something that other people can appreciate, need or want, she explained, saying it is "about making tomorrow better than today."

Jackley went on to describe three lessons that helped guide her: Know your mission, co-create with others and find resources that fit needs. "There are resources out there that empower,"

By providing a loan, she notes, one slowly receives money back, which could give one more of an incentive to pay attention and listen to the story that comes along with that loan. Loans empower the lender and borrower to be equally important, Jackley said. "It is an exchange that is about dignity, respect and equality."

Jackley is currently a Visiting Practitioner at Stanford's Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society.

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