Kiva microfinancer Jessica Jackley to deliver talk on entrepreneurship; kick off competitions

Entrepreneurs changing lives

Jessica Jackley understands the power of the personal connection. She discovered it while visiting East Africa to conduct impact evaluation surveys for Village Enterprise Fund. At the same time, her husband Matt Flannery was in the field filming interviews with small business entrepreneurs. When they saw firsthand the life-changing power of micro- financing, they devoted themselves to creating their own program.

That program is Kiva, which grew from a small personal project to one of the world’s largest microfinance facilitators, connecting budding entrepreneurs with millions of dollars in loans from hundreds of thousands of lenders around the globe.

Jackley will deliver the Assembly Series/Skandalaris Lecture at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 17 in Simon Hall’s May Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. This is the kickoff event for the Skandalaris Center’s annual business plan competitions: the Olin Cup, and the YouthBridge Social Entrepreneur and Innovation Competition.

In March 2005, seven loans were posted on for a total of $3,500. They included a goat herder, a fishmonger, a cattle farmer and a restaurateur. Six months later every loan had been repaid. Last November, Kiva marked the 50 millionth dollar loaned; in December, another milestone was reached with a record $3,827,400 of loans facilitated in just one month.

For more information on this program, call 314-935-4620 or visit the web site at; for more information on the Skandalaris Center and its programs, call 314-935-9134 or visit the web site at