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貧困、お金、そして愛 -少額の融資によって彼らの人生の一部となる-



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ジェシカ・ジャクリー: 貧困、お金、そして愛 | Talk Subtitles and Transcript | TED.com

 

 

互いの物語にいかに関わって行くか

 

お互いを語り合う物語は 大切です 自分の人生を語ることも大切です そして何よりも お互いの物語にいかに関わって行くかが 非常に大切だと思います 6歳のときのこと 初めて 貧しい人の話を聞きました 貧しい人から直接聞いたのではなくて 日曜学校の先生を通じて キリストの話を聞いたのです 彼らは いろんな物を必要としていると 教わったことを覚えています 衣食住で困っているのです またそれと合わせて 日曜学校に通う5-6歳の自分たちの務めは 助けることだと教わりました これはキリストからのお願いなのです 「最も小さな者への行いは わたしへの行いである」 私はすごく楽しみだと思い 世界の役に立ちたいと思いました 誰もが感じたことのある あの感覚です 神が助けを求めているとは 初耳でしたが これに貢献することが 重要だと感じました

 

でも その後すぐにキリストが こんなことを言っていたと学びました 貧者は常に共にいるというのです このことには不満で困惑しました やるべき宿題が出されて わくわくする課題なのに どう頑張っても失敗すると言われては 混乱するし 不服で腹も立ちます 何か私が誤解しているように思えて 気後れしてしまいました このとき初めて 貧しい人たちに対する恐れと 不快感を感じるようになりました 脳裏に浮かんだのは一列に並んだ人々が いつも付きまとうイメージです 救いの手や物資をいつも求め 私の助けたいという気持ちも どう役に立つのかがわかりません 差し出すものも尽きたらどうなるのでしょう まして 永遠に続く問題だというのです 私は大人になるまで 貧困の話をいろいろ聞きましたが 暗い話ばかりでした 例えば 悲しみにくれて苦しんでいる人たちの 写真や映像を見たり 困難に陥る貧しい人たちの話や 病気や戦争の話を聞きました 互いにつながりがあるように見える それらの話から私は こんな状況であろうと理解しました 世界中の貧しい人たちは 苦しみや悲しみや破壊や絶望が つきまとう人生を送るのです

 

やがて 多くの人と同じように こんなふうに反応するようになりました 貧困の話を耳にするたびに可哀想に思い 相対的に豊かな自分に罪悪感を覚えるのです 十分な貢献をできていないからです そのために恥ずかしさも感じました そこで自然に 私は距離をおくようになり 貧しい人たちの話を 以前のように こと細かに聞かなくなりました 事態が改善するとも思えなくなりました でも 時間とお金を積極的に 割いているように見えたでしょう 買える解決策には お金を出していました コーヒー1杯分のお金で 子ども1人が救えるのは事実です 気持ちが追いつめられたら寄付しました 哀れみの感情が高まったときも寄付して 他の誰でもない自分の苦しみが 和らぐのです 本当はそんな理由で寄付していました 純粋に希望を抱いての行為ではなく 援助の心とか親切心でもないのです 私に取って単なる取引や 売買に成り下がりました 日々を過ごす権利のような物を 買っていたのです 悲しいニュースに悩まされない権利です 悩みを切り抜けようとするあまり なによりもまず 彼らの 人間性や個性のことを忘れて ある種の商品のように扱ってしまうのは 実に恐ろしい振る舞いです 私と同じように 対処した人も多いでしょう いわば距離を買うようなものです 日常の暮らしを続ける権利を買うのです この取引は 一番望んでいるはずの 意味ある形で誰かの人生に 役立ちたいという願いを妨げます つまり簡単に言えば愛の妨げになります

 

 

たまたま貧しいけれども力と知恵と熱意のある起業家が自分と家族の生活を良くするために努力する

 

ありがたいことに 数年前に転機がありました 私はムハマド・ユヌス博士の講演を聞いたのです 多くの皆さんは彼のことをよくご存知でしょうが 知らない方のために ごく簡単に紹介します ユヌス博士はマイクロファイナンスを 確立した功績でノーベル平和賞を受賞しました 私が彼の話を聞いたのは受賞の3年前でした 簡単にマイクロファイナンスを説明します 貧しい人のための金融サービスです 銀行が提供するサービスを 一日数ドルで暮らす人に合わせて 提供する仕組みです ユヌス博士は彼の物語と グラミン銀行で成し遂げたことを 語りました 特に小額貸与について説明しました これは小額の融資で 起業と事業の成長を支援するものです 彼の話を聞いて いくつかの理由で興奮しました まず何より 世界を変える新しい方法を学んだのです 関わり合いを持ちながら 資金を貸与するのは 無理のない方法だと知りました 可哀想だからすることではありません これには わくわくしました さらに重要なことは 貧しい人についての話は これまで聞いたこともないような話でした たまたま貧しいけれども 力と知恵と熱意のある起業家が 自分と家族の生活を良くするために 努力しているという話だったのです それをもっと素早く 適切に実行するために 彼らに必要なのは少しの資金でした この見方には 驚かされました

 

大きく心を動かされました どれほど心を捉えられたのか言葉にできません とても感動したので 数週間後には仕事を辞めて 東アフリカに向かい 自分の眼で確かめることにしました 人生で初めて 一人ひとりの個人と 会いたいと思いました 起業家たちと会って その暮らしを 自分で確かめたかったのです ケニアとウガンダとタンザニアで3ヶ月を過ごし 100ドルで起業や事業拡大をした 起業家にインタビューしました そしてこれらの交流を通して 形の見えない 遠い存在だと ずっと思っていた人たちと 初めて友人になりました 友達になって一人ずつの話を知りました そしてインタビューを何度も 繰り返して 彼らと過ごす日々の中で 人生が変化した話を 細部にわたって聴きました

 

融資でヤギを数頭買ったという ヤギ飼いの話を聞くのです 商売を軌道に乗せて もう少しの収入を得ると 生活水準を高めて より良い暮らしを送れます 暮らしの中の小さな改善が興味深いのです 子どもを学校にやるとか 蚊帳を買えるようになるとか 扉の鍵を買って安心できるようになるとか 客をもてなすお茶をいれるときに 砂糖も入れられることが 誇らしいとか 20人のヤギ飼いに順番に話を聞いても 素敵なディテールがいろいろあるのです あるとき生じた素晴らしい人生の変化が どれだけ意味あるものなのかを知って 私は感動しました 魔法の杖があれば 全ての問題が解決するかのように 考えていた自分の思い違いに 初めて気がつきました 本人が最善だと思う方法こそが 人生を変える一番良い方法だからです こうして自分の思い込みに気づきました

 

 

可哀想と思ってほしい人などいない

 

向こうではさらに面白いことがありました 一度たりとも 寄付を求められなかったのです 貧困と援助を結びつけていた私は 寄付を求められるだろうと覚悟していました だれ一人として寄付を求めませんでした 可哀想と思ってほしい人などいなかったのです 強いて言えば すでに取り組んでいることを さらに進めて能力を高めたいというのです 時々私が耳にしたことは お金を借りたい人がいること 合理的で素晴らしいことだと思いました 私の専攻は哲学と詩学だったので 現地訪問の時には 利益と収入の区別もつかず ただお金が役に立つという印象を受けただけでした 私がビジネスに触れたのは わずか100ドルの資本提供からでした 利益と収入やレバレッジなどについては 農家や仕立て屋やヤギ飼いたちから学びました さて ビジネスと希望についての こんな新しい話を 友人や家族に伝えて 必要とするお金を集めて貸し出し ビジネスを続けられるようにできるはずです この小さなアイデアから Kiva が生まれました

 

数ヶ月後 デジカメを手に ウガンダに戻って 簡単なウェブサイトを パートナーのマシューと作ると 新しい友人たち 7 人の写真を載せて 彼らの起業家としてのエピソードを添えて 周囲に嘆願メールを送りました 「法律面もOK SECからの問い合わせも受けていません この人たちが必要なお金を 提供してもらえませんか?」 資金はほぼ一晩で集まりました ウガンダに送金して そのあと6ヶ月 素晴らしい展開です 起業家たちはお金を受け取り 受け取ったお金で事業を発展させて 自立を進めることができ 人生の軌道を変えることができました 2005年の10月には 最初の7件のローンは返済され ウェブサイトもベータ版ではなくなりました 「ささやかな実験は成功した ここからが本番だ」 公式なスタートでした 2005年10月から2006年までの初年度に Kiva は50万ドルの貸出を行い 2年目には1500万ドルになりました 3年目には4000万ドルでした 4年目は1億ドル弱 そして今日 まだ5年に満たないのですが 一口25ドルからの融資を Kiva は1億5千万ドル以上行いました 貸主と借主合わせて100万人以上が 200ヶ国に広がっています

 

Kiva の現状をご理解いただけたと思います これらの数字と統計についての 話も興味は尽きないのですが 私にとって エピソードこそがKivaなのです 貧しい人のエピソードを 伝え直すことです 私たちにとっても 貧しい人の尊厳を保ちながら 彼らと関わる機会をもたらし パートナーとしての関係を実証するものです 従来スタイルの施しを受けたときの 歪みがちな関係とは 別のものなのです 従来の関係ではなくて 敬意と希望を育む関係に 楽観主義を携えて 我々は前進していきます 私はこんなことを望んでいます お金の行き来は大事ですが それだけではなく これまで語られてきたような 金持ちと貧者 ―我々と彼ら― 持てるものと持たざるものとを 隔てる境界線を Kiva で消したいのです Kiva にできることだと期待しています なぜなら 実際に起きていることですが もっとオープンで公正で 創造的なやり取りが自由に行えるのです お互いに積極的に助け合えるのです

 

 

少額の融資によって彼らの人生の一部となる

 

路上に物乞いがいたとします 助けを差し伸べようとするときに どんな気持ちがするか 考えてみて下さい 一方 働き者の起業家から 事業の話を聞くときには どんな気持ちがするでしょう これまでの成果を笑顔で語りたいという 人たちと話すことを考えてみてください 何かを育てて花咲かせている人や 才能を活かして 何かを創っている人や ゼロから自分の事業を興した人や 身の周りの豊かさに囲まれ 不足を訴えない人 自ら豊かさを作り出している人です からっぽの手を差し出して 何かを求めるのではなく 両手に山盛りで差し出せる人や 毎朝きちんと起きて より良い生活のために懸命に働く人たちは 予想もつかない話をしてくれます お互いの思い込みを砕くストーリーです そんな人たちを支援する コミュニティー作りを Kiva が助け 少額の融資によって 彼らの人生の一部となれば お互いの可能性に対する見方を 変えられると思います

 

私にとって Kiva は始まりにすぎません 将来の展開を考えるために 学んできたことを思い返してみると まず第一に 起業家精神は私にとって新しいものでした ここ何年か Kiva から借金する人たちと話してきて 起業家精神の何たるかを教えられました その中核にあるのは人生を良くしようという決意です 機会に気づき それを掴むために これをやろうと決めること つまり 明日は今日より良くなると信じて それに向かって進むのです 第二に 融資は人をつなげる面白い役割を果たします 寄付ではないのです 似たり寄ったりのようですが 実際は誰かに与えてしまったら 感謝されて その後は 結果を聞くだけです 貸し付けの場合には 時間をかけて少しずつ返済します そこに継続的な対話が生まれ 長期にわたって注目することが 本当に大事なのです お互いの間に生じる関係が別物になります 第三に 知り合いになった起業家たちから聞いたことですが 他の全ての条件が同じなら 必要な資金だけを提供されるのと 資金に加えて支援と応援を 世界のコミュニティーから受けられるのとでは コミュニティー付きの資金を選ぶというのです 意味と力のある組み合わせなのです

 

以上のことを心に留めたとき あるきっかけで 次の私の取り組みが決まりました 起業家は至る所で見つかります さらに世界中には 支援グループがたくさんあります 社会ネットワークの助けによって 身の回りで応援してくれる人たちが 驚くほど急速に増えるのです そこで こんな助け合いのネットワークを もっと多くの起業家精神の触媒として みんなに変化をもたらし より良い明日を作るための 方法はないかと考えていました アメリカ国内での現状調査から いくつかの面白い洞察が得られました 一つは予想どおり 世界中どこでも 小規模事業は 成長してより多くを行うための資金や 苦境を乗り切る資金が必要なのです いつでも身の周りに資金源が必要なのです もう一つ わかったことは その資金の出どころは銀行でも ベンチャーキャピタルや 各種組織や支援機構でもなく 友人や家族から得ているのです ある統計では小規模事業の資金の85%は 友人や家族から得ているといいます 年間にすると1300億ドルです 大量の資金です 第三に友人や家族から資金集めをするには 何をどう頼むべきかという問題があります どんなにやる気があっても 支援者たちに感謝したいと思っていても 結果として何を約束すべきかわからないのです

 

支援コミュニティーの力を新たな方法で引き出し 起業家たちの自らの決断を支援するために 金融取引はどうあるべきか 起業家たちに何が適するかを考えた末 まさに今週 プロファウンダーという プラットフォームを立ち上げました 小規模事業に必要な資金を友人や家族から 投資してもらう仕組みです これは寄付でも借金でもありません ダイナミックな見返りが望める投資です 関与という意味で捉えれば まさに山あり谷ありを共に歩むわけです 要するに 小規模事業が資金集めを セルフサービスで行うための仕組みです ウェブサイトではプロファイルや投資の条件を 手軽に作れるようにしました 私にも 利用者にとっても 本当に簡単なように作ってあります 起業家たちは収入からある割合を選ぶようにしました 無数のアマチュア投資家たち つまり普通の人たちから 100万ドルまで集めることができます そして時期が来たら 定めた条件に従って 収益を分配するのです これらの条件に従って 関わっている投資家は 投資成果を現金で受け取ったり 事前に決めたNPOに 寄付することができます 利益のためでも 社会貢献のためでも投資できます こんな仕組みによってアイデアのある人が誰でも やりたいことに取り組む方法を示し すでに自分の周りにいる人たちを集めて ―自分のことを最も知っていて 愛して応援しようと思ってくれる人たちの力で 実現できるようにしたいのです

 

こんなことに 私は今取り組んでいます そして最後にお願いです プロファウンダーは生まれたての仕組みで 見てのとおり ただの器や道具にすぎません 実際に利用する人の助けが必要なのです Kiva に多くの人が関与して 多くの繋がりが生じたのと同じことです 皆さんを説得するまでもなく 分かって頂けることでしょう 助けることは幸せをもたらすという 倫理とか道徳による理由づけや 宗教的な理由なども よく耳にするものですが 私が何か言うまでもなく 分かっていることでしょう 助けようと思いが 強すぎるとかえって 失敗を恐れてしまって 何もできなくなることもあります 助け合って共に意味ある人生を 送りたいと心底願っているからこそです

 

今日は私のエピソードを伝えることが 私にできる 一番のことだと考えました すでにお持ちの人助けの気持ちを 呼び起こせたでしょうか くじけることのない愛があれば 思い切ってやれるはずです ごめんなさい

 

(拍手)

 

ありがとう

 

(拍手)

 

ありがとう

 

(拍手)

 

 

立ち止まって他の誰かの話を聞くこと

 

私にとっては 挑戦する勇気を貰う一番の方法は 立ち止まって他の誰かの 話を聞くことです このTEDでそれができて感謝しています いつでも誰かから話を聴くと ありがたいことに 意欲が湧いてきます 話を聞くたびに人びとが 偉大なことを成し遂げる可能性と 私がそれを支援できる可能性を確信します ツールのことや お金のやりとりのことは忘れましょう そんなことは簡単なのです お互いを信じて 自信をもって いざとなったら一人ひとりが 素晴らしいことをできると信じましょう こうして 我々の物語は愛の物語となり それを集め続ける中から 永続する希望を生み出せば 誰にとっても素晴らしいことでしょう こうしてお互いを信頼して 疑うことなく毎日続けることで 今日よりも良い明日の世界に 変えて行けると信じています

 

ありがとう

 

(拍手)

 

ソーシャルファイナンス革命 ~世界を変えるお金の集め方 (生きる技術! 叢書)

ソーシャルファイナンス革命 ~世界を変えるお金の集め方 (生きる技術! 叢書)

 

 

 

原文  

The stories we tell about each other matter very much. The stories we tell ourselves about our own lives matter. And most of all, I think the way that we participate in each other's stories is of deep importance. I was six years old when I first heard stories about the poor. Now I didn't hear those stories from the poor themselves, I heard them from my Sunday school teacher and Jesus, kind of via my Sunday school teacher. I remember learning that people who were poor needed something material -- food, clothing, shelter -- that they didn't have. And I also was taught, coupled with that, that it was my job -- this classroom full of five and six year-old children -- it was our job, apparently, to help. This is what Jesus asked of us. And then he said, "What you do for the least of these, you do for me." Now I was pretty psyched. I was very eager to be useful in the world -- I think we all have that feeling. And also, it was kind of interesting that God needed help. That was news to me, and it felt like it was a very important thing to get to participate in.

 

But I also learned very soon thereafter that Jesus also said, and I'm paraphrasing, the poor would always be with us. This frustrated and confused me; I felt like I had been just given a homework assignment that I had to do, and I was excited to do, but no matter what I would do, I would fail. So I felt confused, a little bit frustrated and angry, like maybe I'd misunderstood something here. And I felt overwhelmed. And for the first time, I began to fear this group of people and to feel negative emotion towards a whole group of people. I imagined in my head, a kind of long line of individuals that were never going away, that would always be with us. They were always going to ask me to help them and give them things, which I was excited to do, but I didn't know how it was going to work. And I didn't know what would happen when I ran out of things to give, especially if the problem was never going away. In the years following, the other stories I heard about the poor growing up were no more positive. For example, I saw pictures and images frequently of sadness and suffering. I heard about things that were going wrong in the lives of the poor. I heard about disease, I heard about war -- they always seemed to be kind of related. And in general, I got this sort of idea that the poor in the world lived lives that were wrought with suffering and sadness, devastation, hopelessness.

 

And after a while, I developed what I think many of us do, is this predictable response, where I started to feel bad every time I heard about them. I started to feel guilty for my own relative wealth, because I wasn't doing more, apparently, to make things better. And I even felt a sense of shame because of that. And so naturally, I started to distance myself. I stopped listening to their stories quite as closely as I had before. And I stopped expecting things to really change. Now I still gave -- on the outside it looked like I was still quite involved. I gave of my time and my money, I gave when solutions were on sale. The cost of a cup of coffee can save a child's life, right. I mean who can argue with that? I gave when I was cornered, when it was difficult to avoid and I gave, in general, when the negative emotions built up enough that I gave to relieve my own suffering, not someone else's. The truth be told, I was giving out of that place, not out of a genuine place of hope and excitement to help and of generosity. It became a transaction for me, became sort of a trade. I was purchasing something -- I was buying my right to go on with my day and not necessarily be bothered by this bad news. And I think the way that we go through that sometimes can, first of all, disembody a group of people, individuals out there in the world. And it can also turn into a commodity, which is a very scary thing. So as I did this, and as I think many of us do this, we kind of buy our distance, we kind of buy our right to go on with our day. I think that exchange can actually get in the way of the very thing that we want most. It can get in the way of our desire to really be meaningful and useful in another person's life and, in short to love.

 

Thankfully, a few years ago, things shifted for me because I heard this gentleman speak, Dr. Muhammad Yunus. I know many in the room probably know exactly who he is, but to give the shorthand version for any who have not heard him speak, Dr. Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize a few years ago for his work pioneering modern microfinance. When I heard him speak, it was three years before that. But basically, microfinance -- if this is new to you as well -- think of that as financial services for the poor. Think of all the things you get at your bank and imagine those products and services tailored to the needs of someone living on a few dollars a day. Dr. Yunus shared his story, explaining what that was, and what he had done with his Grameen Bank. He also talked about, in particular, microlending, which is a tiny loan that could help someone start or grow a business. Now, when I heard him speak, it was exciting for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I learned about this new method of change in the world that, for once, showed me, maybe, a way to interact with someone and to give, to share of a resource in a way that wasn't weird and didn't make me feel bad -- that was exciting. But more importantly, he told stories about the poor that were different than any stories I had heard before. In fact, those individuals he talked about who were poor was sort of a side note. He was talking about strong, smart, hardworking entrepreneurs who woke up every day and were doing things to make their lives and their family's lives better. All they needed to do that more quickly and to do it better was a little bit of capital. It was an amazing sort of insight for me.

 

And I, in fact, was so deeply moved by this -- it's hard to express now how much that affected me -- but I was so moved that I actually quit my job a few weeks later, and I moved to East Africa to try to see for myself what this was about. For the first time, actually, in a long time I wanted to meet those individuals, I wanted to meet these entrepreneurs, and see for myself what their lives were actually about. So I spent three months in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania interviewing entrepreneurs that had received 100 dollars to start or grow a business. And in fact, through those interactions, for the first time, I was starting to get to be friends with some of those people in that big amorphous group out there that was supposed to be far away. I was starting to be friends and get to know their personal stories. And over and over again, as I interviewed them and spent my days with them, I did hear stories of life change and amazing little details of change.

 

So I would hear from goat herders who had used that money that they had received to buy a few more goats. Their business trajectory would change. They would make a little bit more money; their standard of living would shift and would get better. And they would make really interesting little adjustments in their lives, like they would start to send their children to school. They might be able to buy mosquito nets. Maybe they could afford a lock for the door and feel secure. Maybe it was just that they could put sugar in their tea and offer that to me when I came as their guest and that made them feel proud. But there were these beautiful details, even if I talked to 20 goat herders in a row, and some days that's what happened -- these beautiful details of life change that were meaningful to them. That was another thing that really touched me. It was really humbling to see for the first time, to really understand that even if I could have taken a magic wand and fixed everything, I probably would have gotten a lot wrong. Because the best way for people to change their lives is for them to have control and to do that in a way that they believe is best for them. So I saw that and it was very humbling.

 

Anyway, another interesting thing happened while I was there. I never once was asked for a donation, which had kind of been my mode, right. There's poverty, you give money to help -- no one asked me for a donation. In fact, no one wanted me to feel bad for them at all. If anything, they just wanted to be able to do more of what they were doing already and to build on their own capabilities. So what I did hear, once in a while, was that people wanted a loan -- I thought that sounded very reasonable and really exciting. And by the way, I was a philosophy and poetry major in school, so I didn't know the difference between profit and revenue when I went to East Africa. I just got this impression that the money would work. And my introduction to business was in these $100 little infuses of capital. And I learned about profit and revenue, about leverage, all sorts of things, from farmers, from seamstresses, from goat herders. So this idea that these new stories of business and hope might be shared with my friends and family, and through that, maybe we could get some of the money that they needed to be able to continue their businesses as loans, that's this little idea that turned into Kiva.

 

A few months later, I went back to Uganda with a digital camera and a basic website that my partner, Matthew, and I had kind of built, and took pictures of seven of my new friends, posted their stories, these stories of entrepreneurship, up on the website, spammed friends and family and said, "We think this is legal. Haven't heard back yet from SEC on all the details, but do you say, do you want to help participate in this, provide the money that they need?" The money came in basically overnight. We sent it over to Uganda. And over the next six months, a beautiful thing happened; the entrepreneurs received the money, they were paid, and their businesses, in fact, grew, and they were able to support themselves and change the trajectory of their lives. In October of '05, after those first seven loans were paid, Matt and I took the word beta off of the site. We said, "Our little experiment has been a success. Let's start for real." That was our official launch. And then that first year, October '05 through '06, Kiva facilitated $500,000 in loans. The second year, it was a total of 15 million. The third year, the total was up to around 40. The fourth year, we were just short of 100. And today, less than five years in, Kiva's facilitated more than 150 million dollars, in little 25-dollar bits, from lenders and entrepreneurs -- more than a million of those, collectively in 200 countries.

 

So that's where Kiva is today, just to bring you right up to the present. And while those numbers and those statistics are really fun to talk about and they're interesting, to me, Kiva's really about stories. It's about retelling the story of the poor, and it's about giving ourselves an opportunity to engage that validates their dignity, validates a partnership relationship, not a relationship that's based on the traditional sort of donor beneficiary weirdness that can happen. But instead a relationship that can promote respect and hope and this optimism that together we can move forward. So what I hope is that, not only can the money keep flowing forth through Kiva -- that's a very positive and meaningful thing -- but I hope Kiva can blur those lines, like I said, between the traditional rich and poor categories that we're taught to see in the world, this false dichotomy of us and them, have and have not. I hope that Kiva can blur those lines. Because as that happens, I think we can feel free to interact in a way that's more open, more just and more creative, to engage with each other and to help each other.

 

Imagine how you feel when you see somebody on street who is begging and you're about to approach them. Imagine how you feel; and then imagine the difference when you might see somebody who has a story of entrepreneurship and hard work who wants to tell you about their business. Maybe they're smiling, and they want to talk to you about what they've done. Imagine if you're speaking with somebody who's growing things and making them flourish, somebody who's using their talents to do something productive, somebody who's built their own business from scratch, someone who is surrounded by abundance, not scarcity, who's in fact creating abundance, somebody with full hands with something to offer, not empty hands asking for you to give them something. Imagine if you could hear a story you didn't expect of somebody who wakes up every day and works very, very hard to make their life better. These stories can really change the way that we think about each other. And if we can catalyze a supportive community to come around these individuals and to participate in their story by lending a little bit of money, I think that can change the way we believe in each other and each other's potential.

 

Now for me, Kiva is just the beginning. And as I look forward to what is next, it's been helpful to reflect on the things I've learned so far. The first one is, as I mentioned, entrepreneurship was a new idea to me. Kiva borrowers, as I interviewed them and got to know them over the last few years, have taught me what entrepreneurship is. And I think, at its core, it's deciding that you want your life to be better. You see an opportunity and you decide what you're going to do to try to seize that. In short, it's deciding that tomorrow can better than today and going after that. Second thing that I've learned is that loans are a very interesting tool for connectivity. So they're not a donation. Yeah, maybe it doesn't sound that much different. But in fact, when you give something to someone and they say, "Thanks," and let you know how things go, that's one thing. When you lend them money, and they slowly pay you back over time, you have this excuse to have an ongoing dialogue. This continued attention -- this ongoing attention -- is a really big deal to build different kinds of relationships among us. And then third, from what I've heard from the entrepreneurs I've gotten to know, when all else is equal, given the option to have just money to do what you need to do, or money plus the support and encouragement of a global community, people choose the community plus the money. That's a much more meaningful combination, a more powerful combination.

 

So with that in mind, this particular incident has led to the things that I'm working on now. I see entrepreneurs everywhere now, now that I'm tuned into this. And one thing that I've seen is there are a lot of supportive communities that already exist in the world. With social networks, it's an amazing way, growing the number of people that we all have around us in our own supportive communities, rapidly. And so, as I have been thinking about this, I've been wondering: how can we engage these supportive communities to catalyze even more entrepreneurial ideas and to catalyze all of us to make tomorrow better than today? As I've researched what's going on in the United States, a few interesting little insights have come up. So one is that, of course, as we all might expect, many small businesses in the U.S. and all over the world still need money to grow and to do more of what they want to do or they might need money during a hard month. But there's always a need for resources close by. Another thing is, it turns out, those resources don't usually come from the places you might expect -- banks, venture capitalists, other organizations and support structures -- they come from friends and family. Some statistics say 85 percent or more of funding for small businesses comes from friends and family. That's around 130 billion dollars a year -- it's a lot. And third, so as people are doing this friends and family fundraising process, it's very awkward, people don't know exactly what to ask for, how to ask, what to promise in return, even though they have the best of intentions and want to thank those people that are supporting them.

 

So to harness the power of these supportive communities in a new way and to allow entrepreneurs to decide for themselves exactly what that financial exchange should look like, exactly what fits them and the people around them, this week actually, we're quietly doing a launch of Profounder, which is a crowd funding platform for small businesses to raise what they need through investments from their friends and family. And it's investments, not donations, not loans, but investments that have a dynamic return. So the mapping of participating in the story, it actually flows with the up and down. So in short, it's a do-it-yourself tool for small businesses to raise these funds. And what you can do is go onto the site, create a profile, create investment terms in a really easy way. We make it really, really simple for me as well as anyone else who wants to use the site. And we allow entrepreneurs to share a percentage of their revenues. They can raise up to a million dollars from an unlimited number of unaccredited, unsophisticated investors -- everyday people, heaven forbid -- and they can share those returns over time -- again, whatever terms they set. As investors choose to become involved based on those terms, they can either take their rewards back as cash, or they can decide in advance to give those returns away to a non-profit. So they can be a cash, or a cause, investor. It's my hope that this kind of tool can show anybody who has an idea a path to go do what they want to do in the world and to gather the people around them that they already have, the people that know them best and that love them and want to support them, to gather them to make this happen.

 

So that's what I'm working on now. And to close, I just want to say, look these are tools. Right now, Profounder's right at the very beginning, and it's very palpable; it's very clear to me, that it's just a vessel, it's just a tool. What we need are for people to care, to actually go use it, just like they've cared enough to use Kiva to make those connections. But the good news is I don't think I need to stand here and convince you to care -- I'm not even going to try. I don't think, even though we often hear, you know, hear the ethical and moral reasons, the religious reasons, "Here's why caring and giving will make you happier." I don't think we need to be convinced of that. I think we know; in fact, I think we know so much, and it's such a reality that we care so deeply, that in fact, what usually stops us is that we're afraid to try and to mess up, because we care so very much about helping each other and being meaningful in each other's lives.

 

So what I think I can do today, that best thing I can give you -- I've given you my story, which is the best I can do. And I think I can remind us that we do care. I think we all already know that. And I think we know that love is resilient enough for us to get out there and try. Just a sec.

 

(Applause)

 

Thanks.

 

(Applause)

 

Thanks.

 

(Applause)

 

For me, the best way to be inspired to try is to stop and to listen to someone else's story. And I'm grateful that I've gotten to do that here at TED. And I'm grateful that whenever I do that, guaranteed, I am inspired -- I am inspired by the person I am listening to. And I believe more and more every time I listen in that that person's potential to do great things in the world and in my own potential to maybe help. And that -- forget the tools, forget the moving around of resources -- that stuff's easy. Believing in each other, really being sure when push comes to shove that each one of us can do amazing things in the world, that is what can make our stories into love stories and our collective story into one that continually perpetuates hope and good things for all of us. So that, this belief in each other, knowing that without a doubt and practicing that every day in whatever you do, that's what I believe will change the world and make tomorrow better than today.

 

Thank you.

 

(Applause)

 

 

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