Andable combines e-commerce and micro finance for mutual wins

Andable combines e-commerce and micro finance for mutual wins

You'd have to be living under a rock to not have heard of micro-financing non-profit Kiva, and now a new online marketplace has teamed up with the organisation to put a portion of every sale toward a micro loan.

Andable Kiva loansAndable currently offers items from accessories to art, fashion and food from sellers in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Indonesia, US, and Canada. Anyone can set up a shop for free or make purchases through credit card or Paypal. 

Through Andable’s partnership with Kiva, 10 percent of each purchase at point of sale goes to support a small business loan to a person in need abroad. The money is repaid and Andable guarantees the 10 percent payment back to sellers after three months. 

Loans are made primarily to women from developing countries in the retail sector. Andable's loan fund works with micro finance institutions (MFIs), which administer the loans, and are required to have a 2-3 year history of lending and at least a year of financial audits. The MFI partners do receive interest on the loan (paid by the borrowers), but Kiva and Andable do not.

How Andable works:
1. Sellers create a shop and list items, all for free.
2. Buyer browses and purchases directly from seller via credit card or Paypal.
3. At point of sale, the seller receives 85 percent of the sales price.
4. Andable receives 5 percent as commission.
5. Micro loan fund gets 10 percent of every sales purchase, facilitated by
6. The micro loan gets repaid, and Andable pays sellers the 10 percent after three months, guaranteed.  The seller is left with 95 percent of the sales price.

Andable sellers self-badge their items according to one or more of the FRESH criteria:
• Fair Trade or better business practices
• Reborn – vintage, antique, recycled, upcycled
• Eco-friendly
• Support local business
• Handmade

Andable was founded by Australians Rupal Ismin, Melissa Dean and development agency Interesting. The 10 percent mission was inspired by Rupal’s grandfather, who, despite growing up as an impoverished boy in India, always donated 10 percent of his income to charity.

“We’re unbelievably excited to launch a global first where profit and social mission are equally important. It’s a win-win for everybody: buyers, sellers and borrowers. The more we grow, the more lives we change,” says Dean. “Based on the tremendous support we’ve received from the community, it has made the marketplace vibrant. We know we’ve struck a chord proving that doing good can be good business.”

Beth Kuenstler, Kiva’s VP of marketing and communications, says Andable is the first online marketplace to use the Kiva platform to put profits to good use

“We see tremendous potential in for-profit business models that also enable consumers to get involved in micro lending.”

Steve Brennen, marketing director at Paypal, said: “Paypal and Andable have an aligned mission: both want to provide the tools to allow small business in Australia to flourish both cost-effectively and on an international stage."

Andable is also planning to launch a mobile platform by the end of the year.

Would you use Andable? Or would you rather select and make loans through Kiva directly?

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).