Expanding on microfinance

a1447_3Ghana artist and musical instrument maker Ernestina Oppong Assante recently received a microfinance loan from the international online retailer NOVICA. The loan was fully funded by NOVICA customers through the company's new peer-to-peer microfinance lending site. Assante is using the funds to purchase raw materials that will enable her to expand her business. Her handcrafted products are available at www.novica.com. (Photo: Business Wire)Artisans are receiving microfinance loans from the international online retailer NOVICA, fully funded by customers through the a new peer-to-peer microfinance lending site.

International retailer NOVICA has launched the first ever peer-to-peer microfinance lending site where customers can lend money and purchase products directly from artisans. The new programme, which is driven by NOVICA’s worldwide community of customers, is making it possible for artisans in Asia, Africa and Latin America to expand their businesses and invest in their local communities. Two months after the programme’s launch, NOVICA has already funded a pilot group of artisans working in five different nations.
“The individual loans may be small, but they make big things possible, particularly when we make loans to women. Microfinance can be a catalyst for both economic and social change. It’s a very powerful tool, and we are excited to be a part of NOVICA’s programme.”
“With NOVICA, artisans are already generating steady income through their online sales. Our Artisan Loans programme is making it possible for them to invest in their businesses, buy much needed materials and employ additional staff,” said NOVICA co-founder and CEO Roberto Milk. “Through these investments NOVICA can continue to play a role in growing small artisan businesses, generating economic development, and preserving culture and traditional crafts worldwide.”
According to Milk, the average amount that artisans are borrowing is $1,500. Customers can contribute whatever portion of that amount they’d prefer, and they will be repaid within one year. The loans are interest-free to the artisans.
In addition to loans from individual customers, NOVICA’s microfinance programme has also attracted capital from other firms who work with artisans in developing countries. Nina Cooper, the founder and CEO of Nina Designs Ltd., a company that designs and markets silver charms and jewellery supplies, recently committed funds to close out the outstanding loans for six artisans participating in the NOVICA programme.
“I am a long-time supporter of microfinance programmes,” Cooper said. “The individual loans may be small, but they make big things possible, particularly when we make loans to women. Microfinance can be a catalyst for both economic and social change. It’s a very powerful tool, and we are excited to be a part of NOVICA’s programme.”
The NOVICA microfinance programme is housed completely online. Customers who visit the microfinance section of the NOVICA website can read profiles of artisans and decide how much they would like to loan. The profiles include information on the artisan’s business, the size of loan they are seeking, and how they would use it.
By combining a global network of regional offices with the convenience of online retail, NOVICA has connected more than 75,000 artisans and their families from around the world—including sculptors, painters, jewellers, textile and leather designers, potters, weavers, ceramists and glassmakers—directly with customers. NOVICA’s infrastructure enables artisans to gain personal recognition for their work, and earn a greater share of the purchase price for themselves, which means financial resources go directly into their communities.
Founded in Los Angeles in 1999, NOVICA.com (part of the National Geographic Family) is an online, fair-trade marketplace based in Los Angeles, in the USA, with sourcing and direct-shipping offices in seven developing nations. At any given time, NOVICA features more than 30,000 limited-edition handmade works of art, including jewelry, apparel, handbags, rugs and tapestries, home décor items and a variety of collectibles. The handcrafted products are sold globally through novica.com, as well as the company’s network of wholesalers, and through catalog partnerships with National Geographic and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

For more information go to www.novica.com

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

twn Are you sure that you want to switch to desktop version?