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Question:Is there a New Energy Development Application of the Microfinance Model
In considering the microcredit model in which small loans are given for business development in the third world, I couldn't help but wonder if there might be an application to funding New Energy prototype development. (Sterling D. Allan; Jan. 27, 2008)
New Energy Congress member, Richard P. George, Ph.D., points out some reasons why this model would not work for New Energy prototype development.
- Energy prototype development is super high risk. You don't know if the prototype will actually work until you build it.
- Energy prototype development is usually very expensive -- far more expensive (at least an order of magnitude [10x]) than the microloan level.
- Even in the case of a successful prototype, cash flow from product sales is years away after the first prototype is built. There is still years of research and development before the device will be ready for introduction to the marketplace.
- Investors in energy typically do not like paying for loans incurred to get the prototype built. They want their investment to go toward advancing the technology.
The Microfinance Model
Here is some information relevant to the microfinance model.
Microfinance in the News
- Microcredit News Articles - Excerpts of Key Microcredit News Articles in Major Media (WanttoKnow.info)
- Oprah effect brings microlending to Main Street (ABC News; 2008-01-07)
- Nobel Winner Urges Defeat Of Poverty (CBS News/Associated Press; 2006-12-10)
- Microcredit movement tackling poverty one tiny loan at a time (San Francisco Chronicle; 2007-09-30)
- Bankers for poor win peace Nobel - (CNN News/Associated Press; 2006-10-13)
- World's wealth gap grows; poorest half has 1% of assets (Denver Post; 2006-12-05)
- The world champ of poverty fighters (Ode Magazine, July 2005 Issue; 2005-07-00)
- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_19/b3932136_mz070.htm - Listing of Organizations
- Calvert Foundation - Fred Burks writes: "Calvert Foundation has worked best for me, as they have a great track record and channel their investments into numerous respected microcredit organizations worldwide. Calvert also allows you to choose in which region you want to invest. I have all of my money invested internationally because $1,000 goes a lot further in the developing world than it does in the US." 
- http://www.oikocredit.org - For those outside of North America.
- http://www.kiva.org - To make loan as small as even $25
- Invest in Microcredit or Microfinance to Help to End Poverty (WanttoKnow.info)
- COOPAmerica.org Invest Guide (pdf) - Free 24-page guide to microcredit and community investing.