MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Skincare Company Dermalogica Establishes Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship (FITE) Project to Encourage Customers to Lend to Entrepreneurial Women via Microfinance Intermediary Kiva

Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship (FITE), an online lending platform designed by US-based microfinance intermediary Kiva, has been established by US-based skincare brand Dermalogica to raise money for on-lending to women worldwide to invest in their businesses. Dermalogica has committed a USD 500,000 donation to the effort and uses five of its products to promote FITE by providing codes that its customers can enter online to trigger donations of USD 1 each by the company to FITE. It is unclear if the smaller donations are part of the USD 500,000 or in addition to that amount. Consumers visiting the website are also encouraged to use their own money to fund loans as small as USD 25 through FITE.

Launched in February, FITE is an open platform on which, in addition to individuals contributing, any company or other organization can cross-promote its products in a manner similar to the Dermalogica model. Actress Geena Davis and women’s clothier Eileen Fisher are among the “strategic partners” of FITE. Inter Press Service (IPS), a news agency focused on global issues, reports that FITE intends to reach 25,000 women in developing and developed countries in the next two years. All loans and donations received through FITE are processed through Kiva, with loans disbursed by KIVA’s partner microfinance institutions (MFIs).  

By Nisha Koul, Research Associate

About Kiva: Incorporated in 2005, Kiva is a US-based online portal allowing individuals to make loans to microfinance institutions (MFIs), which then make loans to people with low incomes. Kiva partners with microfinance institutions (MFIs) in 60 developing and rich countries. As of September 2011, Kiva reports: it has engaged 990,000 users, 625,000 of whom have funded a loan; 81 percent of loans have been made to women entrepreneurs; the repayment rate on these loans is 98.9 percent and the average loan size is USD 385.

Sources and Additional Resources:

Inter Press Service (IPS), “Accessible Micro-Loans Help Poor Women in Rural South Africa,” http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=105158

Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship (FITE), http://joinfite.org/about-fite/

MicroCapital.org story, May 5, 2011 “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: 17 Websites Now Allow Individuals to Commit as Little as USD 20 as Microfinance Loans,” http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-17-websites-now-allow-individuals-to-commit-as-little-as-usd-20-as-microfinance-loans/

MicroCapital.org story, April 28, 2011, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kiva Intermediates “Green Loans” From Individuals to Promote Clean Energy Efforts Worldwide,” http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-kiva-intermediates-green-loans-from-individuals-to-promote-clean-energy-efforts-worldwide/

MicroCapital Universe Profile: Kiva, http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Kiva

Browse the MicroCapital Universe and add your entry to the wiki at http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/

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