Social and financial return: with a solar loan of EUR 10600 Isaya and 17 others will enjoy light in their entire village in Kenya and at the same time you receive 3.5% interest. Isaya Saidimu Kahenja of Olorika village has a family of two wives and twelve children. One can imagine his lighting bill, especially when using a generator. The cost and also time involved to travel the long distances daily to buy the fuel is a challenge, but it has to be done. This family has agreed to prepare meals and finish other evening chores early before switching off the generator by 9pm just to save on cost beside denying the children ample time to study at night. The acquisition of the solar home system will provide a sustainable source of energy thereby improving the living standard of the entire family. The savings from otherwise daily fuel cost can now go towards other most needed development opportunities like business and farming. This is a typical story for many families in this area where Isaya comes from.
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Lendahand is a Netherlands-based online crowdfunding platform that provides individuals with the opportunity to finance Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and solar businesses operating in emerging and frontier markets at a fair interest rate. The company was founded in 2012 with the objective of stimulating employment in these countries through meso-credit to the ‘missing middle’. The ‘missing middle’ is typically regarded as those companies which are too big to receive microfinance and too small to apply for loans from national financial institutions. In 2016, Lendahand started financing solar campaigns in emerging countries, so far mainly in Kenya and Uganda. Since the launch of the Lendahand platform, we have provided EUR 14mio in loans with a repayment rate of 100% by our nine local partners (NBFIs) and several solar companies. While doing so our lender base of 2,000 strong have created over 2,500 jobs by supporting 1,500 businesses. In 2016, Lendahand launched a pilot funding solar home systems in Kenya. All 15 projects, with a total amount of 350K, were funded with an average funding time of two days. So far we have provided 1.3mio in solar loans (SHSs in Kenya and Uganda). Lendahand facilitates debt funding between the Dutch ‘crowd’ and SME financing companies (‘local partners’) which in turn provide loans to SMEs from €2,000 to €250,000. Investors are able to invest a minimum of €50 in one project or multiple projects of their choosing and expect a return after six months at interest rates between 3-6%. Lendahand is currently financing on average 100 projects per month, more than any other Dutch platform, with an average completion time of five days each in 2016. Lendahand believes that by gaining trust with the lender base, lenders are inclined to be more involved on the platform. Consequently, they have received a 9.2/10 rating from their lenders on The Feedback Company, a company which guarantees the quality and validity of feedback.
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