A reporter asked me today what my goals are for Soap Hope, and I gave her the answer that most of my friends know by now: to teach 1,000 small businesses the Good Returns Model and thereby raise one billion dollars for anti-poverty microloan initiatives.
I’m pretty sure this reporter was shocked – she said, “How much?!,” and actually sounded a bit disappointed. I think she felt I was being naive. Others have told me to start with a more “realistic” goal. I’d like to show you how I believe it is reasonable to raise a billion dollars for microfinance over ten years, with just a few key numbers:
50 small businesses just like Soap Hope
In each of 20 American cities
Each generating $100,000 in profits
Each lending their profits interest-free to a microfinance institution for just 1 year
Over a 10 year period.
50 businesses x 20 cities x $100,000 x 1 year interest-free loan x 10 years = 1 billion dollars.
Let me share some key milestones and goals with you:
- 2009 marks Soap Hope’s first full year in business
- I first discussed the Good Returns model in public in the summer of 2009, just a few months ago
- We’ve already had two small businesses in Dallas spontaneously ask us for help in implementing Good Returns in their own companies
- In 2009 we’ve formed partnerships with three non-profit microfinance institutions
- In 2010 we’ll be launching an organized effort to teach Good Returns to businesses
- Simultaneously we will define sustainability programs that help nonprofits become ready for Good Returns style investments
- In 2011 we’ll be working to form an insurance fund that guarantees the return of Good Returns investment capital to participating businesses, virtually eliminating participants’ risk
One billion dollars may sound like a big number – but when you break it down, it’s right within our grasp. If you read my last post (We Need 166 More People To End Poverty Worldwide) you know that there are six million people in poverty in the Dominican Republic. One billion dollars is just about what it would take to give each of them a microloan.
1,000 Good Returns businesses generating one billion dollars toward ending poverty through microfinance – I don’t think it’s naive at all. Let’s do it!
Co-Founder, Soap Hope
Please help us eradicate poverty: tell someone you know about Soap Hope right now.