Seeds Stories: Meet Jane Nginyo

Seeds Stories: Meet Jane Nginyo

Jane is a poultry farmer in Kenya. Four years ago, Jane had a humble collection of 200 hens. Every week she would gather eggs and walk by foot to the market, carrying her precious cargo to sell. 

Seeds Stories: Meet James Jerembiah

Seeds Stories: Meet James Jerembiah

James is one of the many people Seeds partners have helped. He owns a small general store in Nairobi, Kenya. Three years ago, James' entire store inventory totaled $50. His business was so small that banks were unlikely to give him any attention, and he did not have the required documentation to secure a loan.
 

The Power of Collective Giving

The Power of Collective Giving

There are a lot of problems in the world.

Dilemmas that are so monumental it seems that only people like Bill and Melinda Gates could ever hope to even put a dent in them. And in fact, I think this intimidation factor is one of the biggest deterrents that keeps people from involving themselves with causes in the first place. When a problem seems so insurmountable, it can cause discouragement that ultimately leads to inaction. We as solitary individuals look at these major ills of the world and feel like any difference we might attempt to make is simply futile.

The truth is that you don’t have to be a billionaire to affect real change in the world. You just have to be a small part of a larger whole.

A Little Love for Flyover Country

I write this post from 24,000 ft. in the air, headed from one destination to another. Most places in the world aren’t destinations, though, just places we pass by in order to get somewhere else. In recent years the term “flyover country” has gained traction as a way to explain these non-destinations. This language, interestingly enough, has made it into American political discourse as a way of describing the large swaths of the country where people feel forgotten and abandoned by our political system and the “elites” who look down their noses at them as they fly overhead.

The Social Benefits of the Blockchain

The Social Benefits of the Blockchain

As mobile technologies and the digital economy become ever more ubiquitous around the world, the more people in the poorest and most remote areas of the globe will have the opportunity to participate in the global economy. However, there is yet another innovation that will become even more relevant to this endeavor as it develops and becomes more widely adopted: cryptocurrency.

Why We Should Support Profits for Non-Profits

Why We Should Support Profits for Non-Profits

Ever since I was young, I’ve felt compelled to give to charity. Of course I didn’t have much in the way of resources to do this until I was older and got a job. But once I started working, I realized how important it was to use money wisely. And with that realization, I wanted to make sure that any charities I gave to were operating under that same philosophy. The criteria that I used to make this determination, which is pretty much the same approach most people take, was to look at how much of my donation would be going to the “cause” versus the “overhead.”

Seeds: An Outside Perspective

Seeds: An Outside Perspective

Hi. My name is Joe.

I’ve known about Seeds for a few years now, having been friends with Rachel since high school. Prior to the conception of the company, I had talked a lot with her about a documentary she was making about this practice I’d never heard of before: microlending. I was immediately struck by the concept because of the tremendous impact I could envision coming from such a simple idea. I mean, taking out a business loan is the primary way most small companies in westernized counties start out, so why wouldn’t the same practices be applicable and effective for small businesses in developing countries as well? 

Seeds Entrepreneur: Meet Mary Maina

Seeds Entrepreneur: Meet Mary Maina

Mary Maina is a baker who lives Wangige, Kenya, a rural marketplace roughly 10 miles northwest of Nairobi. Back in 2014, she was a mother of three struggling to manage a tiny business all by herself. Armed with just a charcoal oven and a wooden spoon, Mary only had time to mix 2kg of flour a day before then having to bake her goods and get them delivered to her customers all by herself. 

Overcoming Indecision When it Comes to Charitable Giving

Overcoming Indecision When it Comes to Charitable Giving

Why do fish swim in schools?

Because of seal brains.

Seals have no trouble zeroing in on a solitary fish, but when you add a thousand more to the mix, their targeting system goes haywire. With so many potential options swimming and swirling around all at once, the seal brain gets overwhelmed and its decision making capabilities are incapacitated.

The Evolving Economy

Corporate America was founded by titans. The might wielded by men like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie was truly olympian, their innovations in oil and steel, respectively, paving the way for America’s powerhouse status in the 20th century. But for all the benefit these giants contributed to the construction of modern American society, there was also a dark side to their immense power. Company owners had absolute control over wages, hours, safety, spending, and (in the era of rampant monopoly) over their entire market as well. Workers and consumers alike were completely subject to the whims and desires of the men in charge, which (big surprise) weren’t often in line with the best interests of either worker or consumer.

The Difference Between Microloans and Charities

What usually comes to everyone’s mind when they think about microloans is Kiva, the highly successful microlending nonprofit. (Fun fact: Bill Draper, one of Kiva’s investors, and Sam Birney, Kiva’s former Director of Engineering are investors in Seeds!) Kiva is awesome, but there’s actually a lot more to the world of microfinance than just what they do. We wanted to shed some light on this broader landscape today.

Why Seeds is Not a Charity

While we think many of those organizations are rad, we don’t belong in those categories. In fact, we don’t even think those categories always apply — we’re moving towards a world where these rigid definitions are starting to blend together. Seeds is a great example of that: we combine the best of all worlds, but at our core, we’re business. A high growth potential startup, to be exact.

How Meditation Saved My Startup — And Me

How Meditation Saved My Startup — And Me

Vipassana Meditation was key to every level of transformation for me and my startup. 

In late 2010, I was a stock trader in New York. It was a male-dominated, unnecessarily high-stress job. I was good at it, but the misogynistic culture — and learning I was being paid 15% less than my male counterparts — pushed me to eventually quit. In time, I decided to found my own startup, focusing on getting more money in the hands of women.But the stress and addiction to adrenaline stayed with me — it was an old mental pattern that predated my new job as CEO.