Belfast Telegraph

Micro-loan scheme for developing world tops £1m mark

By Simon Read

An ethical, micro-loan scheme which allows people to lend directly to potential entrepreneurs in developing countries has broken through the £1m barrier.

The lendwithcare scheme was launched last year by CARE International UK and the Co-operative. It has now made more than 26,000 loans to small-scale businesses overseas.

Entrepreneurs range from hairdressers in Togo, West Africa, to artists in Cambodia.

On average, each lender supports six entrepreneurs, with a minimum loan of £15. Entrepreneurs repay the cash using income from their business. Once repaid, a lender can recycle the loan to support another budding enterprise or take their money out of the scheme.

The latest to benefit is 37-year-old father-of-three Jay Roy Mendez in the Philippines who runs a convenience store.

The loan came from former teacher 59-year-old Heather Kitchin from North Yorkshire, who has now lent to 23 different entrepreneurs.

She said: "I love this initiative as my money is not just used once, but time and time again to help different people.

"When my mother died I decided to invest in entrepreneurs in her memory," Heather said.

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