Zero-Interest Financing for Women Artisans
We're excited to announce the launch of our latest social programme for our artisans, Thrive Transfers. This initiative will provide zero-interest, pay-it-forward credit for our women artisan partners.
Why are we launching this initiative?
One key issue issue that often surfaces during our initial needs assessment process with artisans is their lack of capital to expand production.
Most artisans do not have substantial savings, nor are there sources of affordable credit readily available. In order to purchase new equipment, new materials or fix broken tools, some of our artisans have often turned to micro-loans. However, conventional micro-loans often charge artisans interest rates in excess of 20 to 40%.
We saw a need for an alternative form of financing. We wouldn't pay 40% on any loan, so why would we expect our artisan partners to?
"A zero interest, pay-it-forward, evergreen funding scheme."
What is a Thrive Transfer?
A Thrive Transfer differs from a typical micro-loan, and is bespoke for our artisans' needs because of its 3 main characteristics.
It is a zero interest, pay-it-forward, evergreen funding scheme.
1. Zero interest: Artisans do not have to pay any interest back on the amount they have borrowed and are thus not saddled in cyclical interest payments.
2. Pay-it-forward: The artisan does not pay the loan back to us. Instead, the loan once repaid, is passed on to another woman in the same community. This cycle repeats itself.
3. Flexible repayments: The artisan is allowed flexibility in repayments, and is not penalized for missing regular repayment schedule.
Micro-financing is meant to be a lifeline for borrowers, but traditional micro-loans have often steeped many artisan into debt bondage. Our aim through Thrive Transfers is to provide a self-funding route for women entrepreneurs to escape poverty and truly thrive.
It works in 3 simple steps...
First, we identify women artisans with a genuine need for financing.
We find out how much they need, what they need it for, and when they need this funding. Our partner NGO then conducts an introductory auditing process to verify their need and collect their banking details.
Then, we liaise with our issuance partner Womentum to upload their funding request online.
This is for transparency and posterity purposes. And this way, you (the public) can also contribute to the artisans' funding request. Regardless of the amount raised from the public, Artisan & Fox will fund the women's funding request through our Thrive Transfers Fund, which funded by 10% of the profits made from selected items on our marketplace.
Lastly, we complete fundraising in a timeframe averaging 2 weeks to 1 month.
Following that, Womentum issues the micro-credit to the women. Womentum is a non-profit and does not charge any fees, and all payment and administrative fees are fundraised separately by them.
"By bringing in her own income, a woman’s dependency on her husband is reduced."
Helping Women Support Women
The pay-it-forward nature of Thrive Transfers will see to it that a person who donated 10 dollars can see their donations multiply, as one woman entrepreneur passes on their repaid loan to other women in the same community for the years to come. The aim is to strengthen each community's social fabric, by building communities of women supporting women through the scheme's evergreen nature.
We're focusing this programme solely for our women artisan partners due to its communal nature, and also that typically, 80% of micro-loans are offered to women.
We believe that women artisans and entrepreneurs can uplift entire communities if given the resources to. We also hope that by promoting self-sufficiency within women groups in rural areas, and by helping women bring in their own income, women's dependency on her husband is reduced and her bargaining power is increased.
How You Can Help
Each Thrive Transfer will be funded by sales of selected items on Artisan & Fox's marketplace, such as our Mayan textiles. 10% of the profits from each sale will be directed to the Thrive Transfers Fund to fund women artisans. You can also contribute directly to each women's funding request.
We're fiercely passionate for the empowerment of women artisans, and we believe that gender equality will bring about genuine long-term economic development for many of the regions we work in. Gender inequality is a cause of poverty, rather than an outcome or symptom.
Our hope for Thrive Transfers is to set off a ripple effect to benefit only for the women artisans we're fortunate to partner with, but also unleash a ripple effect of women supporting women in these communities.
Artisan & Fox Team
Penned by Reenu and Jaron
About Womentum: Womentum is a non-profit crowdfunding platform that empowers women entrepreneurs from rural regions through the integration of microfinancing schemes and its emphasis on strong community efforts.
What sets Womentum’s work apart from other micro-financing schemes for women is the incorporation of a ‘pay-it-forward’ scheme which encourages women to pass on their repaid loans to fellow female entrepreneurs in their village, creating a beautiful ripple effect within the female community.
Artisan and Fox is privileged to be collaborating with Womentum in their efforts to help these women create profitable and sustainable businesses and inspire future generations of women to dream and achieve, without the concern of being limited financially.