Small business owners make the economy go ’round, employing millions of people around the country and helping our economy bounce back from one of the biggest recessions in our history. Despite their importance, many small business owners, especially women, find it very difficult to find funding. Now, a new project by the Calvert Foundation makes investing in women-owned businesses and community projects a WIN-WIN.
The Calvert Foundation’s Women Investing In Women Initiative, allows individuals to invest in women-run projects for as little as $20 and make a return on their investment. The WIN-WIN project also allows small business owners to qualify for low-interest loans they can use to fund their projects.
Alex Goldmark of GOOD breaks it down:
The Calvert Foundation—affiliated with, but distinct from, the Calvert family of socially responsible mutual funds—aims to raise $20 million through WIN-WIN. Calvert will loan the money to businesses that serve women as the core clients, microfinance groups that lend to women, or woman-run small business. The money might also be used to nudge gender-motivated change in other businesses.
“Every penny of the money goes to the investment itself,” Hall says. A separate stream of donations covers operating costs, with about $100 in gifts leveraging $500 in investments. Foundations and corporations have ponied up the initial support. The interest paid back on the loan to the foundation will go to investors.
A maximum 2 percent return on investment may not be as high as other investment opportunities, but Hall expects investors to be motivated by cause as well as profit. Women entrepreneurs reinvest in their communities more than men who earn the same amount, creating a bigger multiplier effect.
So far the WIN-WIN project has raised over $300,000 from just 64 investors in the past few weeks and they are hoping to attract many more people to the cause.
Find out more about the WIN-WIN project and how you can become an investor on their website.