Online investment vehicle that fights poverty in Africa
A salon in Nairobi: MyC4.com helps raise capital for small and medium sized businesses. February 12, 2009: When Nancy Gathua was looking for capital to invest in her printing business located in Nairobi’s city centre, she did not approach commercial banks or microfinance institutions for a loan.
Instead, she posted her request for a Sh250,000 loan in a Website, MyC4.com, which raises capital for small and medium sized businesses in Africa.
Only 18-months-old, the Internet-based investment vehicle designed for the developing world is already creating a buzz in Africa and Europe as it seeks social investors to assist small businesses that rarely get or have a hard time getting access to credit.
“We did not want to talk about it until we could prove it can work,” says Mr Mads Kjaer, the CEO and founder of MyC4.com. “It takes time to build trust.”
Already in seven African countries with investors from 83 countries, MyC4.com has provided loans to 4,000 businesses, 1,250 of them from Kenya. It sources for African investors locally and in the diaspora.
Mr Kjaer says the Website gives investors an opportunity to make money while helping African entrepreneurs build their businesses.
How does it work? Mr Kjaer asks people to think of E-Bay, a Website that allows people to upload goods for sale and then the buyers have to bid for them. MyC4 is built along the same concept, the only difference being that it deals with money.