Getting Closer with Borrowers: Funders Learn About Cassava Chips Production
A few years ago, you probably would have thought the idea of lending your money to a stranger ridiculous. But today, lenders all over the world are flocking to online peer to peer lending platforms to do just that: lending their money to people they don’t personally know.
Peer to peer lending sites are bringing together those with money to lend and those who need to borrow on one highly accessible platform that makes the process of lending/borrowing a lot simpler and easier by bypassing the banks.
If you are not completely new to the peer to peer lending scene, you would know that credible and responsible platforms share one characteristic: they do their best to make sure that lenders have all the information they need about the borrowers they are lending to so that lenders like you can decide which borrower to lend to.
That is exactly what Mekar does. On the Mekar’s website, lenders have full access to detailed information about every loan that is ready to be funded and the borrower’s profile, such as their gender, location and business sector. This stems from the realization that transparency of processes and data is crucial for a financial service provider like Mekar.
Going a step further, Mekar recently took our lenders and a few others who are interested in becoming a lender in Mekar to visit a micro business owner who is also a borrower of one of our lending partners, Koperasi Abdi Kerta Raharja (AKR). The Micro Business Meet and Greet is aimed to provide participants with an insight into the types of micro businesses they can fund or are funding through Mekar.
Thirty nine year old Usmini owns a small cassava chips production in Panongan sub district of Tangerang, Banten. She has been in the business for eight years and now has 18 employees producing 2,000 kilograms of chips daily. Usmini is also a borrower of AKR, a cooperative that largely operates in the Banten and West Java provinces.
During the meet and greet, participants had the chance to learn all about Usmini’s micro business by watching the production process and having a relaxed discussion with the business owner. Usmini talked about the challenges she had faced while running her business. She also talked about how the loans she had taken from AKR had helped her overcome those challenges.
Although it only lasted for two short hours, the visit to Usmini’s production facility helped participants get a better understanding of the problems faced by a micro business owner like Usmini and millions others like her in Indonesia. Participants also gained insight into the types of businesses they are supporting via the Mekar platform.
Aiming for Healthy Financial Inclusion
More than 90% of the micro businesses whose loans you can fund via Mekar are part of Indonesia’s unbanked and underbanked population. This is largely because they live in rural areas where bank services are rarely available. Most micro businesses also lack proper business documentation or do not own immovable assets which banks require as collateral.
By reaching out to them, Mekar is aiming for healthy financial inclusion, which means people everywhere in Indonesia have access to financial services for productive purposes, i.e. establishing and developing a business. Mekar also makes sure that micropreneurs have a better chance at growing their business by partnering with cooperatives like AKR. Mekar’s partners have the experience and expertise in managing loans and supporting borrowers with the tools and training they need.
You too can support Indonesian micro businesses. Sign up as a lender in Mekar today.
Want to participate in the next meet and greet event? Email us your contact details and we’ll be in touch!