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April 12, 2004

Microloans Rock!

New York Times:

"Microfinance is a long way from the world of venture capital where Mr. Khosla, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, a venture capital business, and a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, has earned a formidable reputation as the man with the Midas touch..."

"His favorite story is that of Sivamma, a 35-year-old woman from the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh who goes by one name. Four years ago, she took a loan of 2,000 rupees ($45) from Spandana, a microfinance initiative based there and built a successful business by employing 250 women to collect human hair. When the women travel to the nearby villages with the small toys that she buys for them, small children greet them and exchange handfuls of hair for the toys."

"The hair is collected and sold to a leading Indian hair exporter in Madras, from where it eventually finds its way to the United States and other Western countries to be used for wigs and hairpieces. Sivamma's return on investment has been more than a hundredfold."

"Sivamma's pride is the $3,000 home she built from the profits, the $700 motorbike she bought for her husband and her $1,000 savings."

Posted at 20:27
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