Social and financial return: with a solar loan of EUR 150,000 Mary and 99 others in Uganda can enjoy a solar home system and at the same time you receive 6% interest. Mary is a hairdresser who used to spend around $1 per day on blades every day, providing an inefficient and unpleasant service. A SolarNow system with 2 electric clippers costs her $24 per month and enabled 30% more shaves per day. Her monthly net income increased from $119 to $162. In 2 years, she will have finished payment and earn even more. Solar home systems change lives. Not only do they reduce the energy expenses of off-grid households; they also improve the access to information for rural families, as they can charge their phones, watch television or even connect to the internet, which stimulates development, equality, education and even democratization. An even higher impact is achieved by the productive systems. Apart from increasing the income of entrepreneurs, this contributes to creating employment, economic development and even food security. Around 65% of the systems are being used for household purposes (lighting, television, cooling) and 35% are being used by businesses, schools and clinics (to extend opening hours, power small appliances, cooling of medicines, etc).
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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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