Wednesday, December 26, 2007

venture capitalist

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I was lucky enough to be born into a family which lived the idea of giving back. My father was quite poor as a child and orphaned at a young age. But his entire life was lived in the spirit of a glass half full. The message we received was that if your glass is half full you have a responsibility to share with others. Sharing includes more than giving financially, it involves giving your talents and your efforts to things that you believe in.

Read a traditional description of a venture capitalist here. I believe also in a different kind of venture opportunity which is something called microenterprise.

My generation of women were at the forefront of the women's movement in the trenches doing the really hard work that forced changes and resulted in the many opportunities that our daughters enjoy today. I am a bit discouraged that the women's movement seems to have overlooked women outside of this country, in poor and emerging nations. These women need a voice and an opportunity to create better lives for themselves and their families.

Each year after Christmas I make a donation to a favorite charity. Trickle Up is a concept that made sense to me, since I'm the type of person that believes in solving problems at the lowest possible level. Mother Theresa said, "If you can't feed 100 people then feed just one." It's the concept of teaching a man to fish. The idea for Tickle Up began on a teacher's kitchen table and has become a instrument for change. With as little as $50 a person can fund a start up business in a poor community. Smaller donations are accepted and paired with others to fund a loan. Women in poverty stricken areas are encouraged and instructed on how to create and implement a business plan. It can be as simple as the purchase of a hand held scale with which to weigh and sell home grown produce at a local market. Contracts are signed in which the women agree to eventually pay back the loan which is then used to fund more businesses.

The farmer reminded me that a true venture capitalist receives a monetary payback. In Trickle Up the payback is the knowledge that you've helped one woman take control of her destiny and that's a great return in my book.

Being an enterpreneur in needle, thread and yarn myself I am a vocal advocate for helping other women to do the same. The women pictured here are Guatemalan's I met on the beach in Belize. They carried heavy loads of colorful fabric panels in bundles on their heads carrying their babies Mayan style on their backs. These people simply bubbled with joy and were happy in their task.

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My donation to Trickle Up will be made in the name of my readers. It is my desire to include all of you in this worthy cause. As we move into the New Year let us all count our many blessings and just remember - you are now a venture capitalist!

(Photo taken in Belize with my Fuji Finepix S5000)

Tomorrow you'll learn the truth about the farmer!

2 comments:

Ginnie said...

What a great gift! And amazing that an amount of money that doesn't seem significant to us can change a life in a developing country.

Zanne said...

Ginnie - Thanks for visiting. That was my initial reaction to Trickle Up. An insignificant amount of money to me would make a real difference in someone else's life. What an amazing concept this woman created at her kitchen table. Even futurist and strategic planner Thomas P. Barnett understands the vital role of women in creating a stable society.