Are There Better Ways to Help Consumers Tackle Social and Environmental Problems?
Techniques used by online microfinance platforms to spur user involvement could be useful in helping organisations to persuade people to behave in ways that benefit both society and environment.
Microfinance platforms have popularised the idea that ordinary people can become bankers to the poor. Communities of lenders get together every day to crowdfund microloans to disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs by investing small sums of around only 25 dollars.
A new study digs into the universe of these microloan platforms to investigate how they manage to attract investors and perpetuate their enthusiasm for responding to social problems such as poverty.
Researchers from the Universities of Birmingham and Southern Denmark have identified two major ways through which platforms maintain and potentiate lending. Their findings are published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Firstly, the platforms assemble resources that function as an ‘apparatus of affirmation’ – providing first-hand evidence of impact that help consumers imagine the benefits of their actions, thereby creating a sense of empowerment.
Secondly, the platforms translate complex and distant social problems, such as poverty, into personal encounters between lenders and borrowers – creating a sense of connection and familiarity via photographs, stories and loan updates. This set of techniques is theorised as the ‘apparatus of relatability’.
Co-author Dr Pilar Rojas-Gaviria, Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Birmingham, comments: “Organisations such as microlending platforms, which strive to mobilise responsible consumers, face two key challenges – overcoming the powerlessness felt when facing daunting problems, and removing a sense of disconnection from ‘faraway’ problems.
“Supplementing the power of ideas and knowledge with personal stories that inspire hope and aspiration, affinity and connection are powerful techniques that could be useful in inspiring consumers to more actively participate in efforts to tackle social and environmental problems, such as climate change.”
Through storytelling, imagery, platform design and communication, the researchers note that online microlending platforms nurture a feeling that genuine change is possible through affordable actions. They also develop a sense of affinity and empathy among potential investors with aspiring micro-entrepreneurs, particularly those from Low-and Middle-income Countries (LMIC).
For example, the platforms publish loan requests to showcase individual borrowers with first names, photographs, and short biographies. This personalised strategy effectively frames microlending as a virtual encounter with a borrower and their story of micro-entrepreneurship. Celebrities, such as actor Natalie Portman, have over the past years helped the microfinance industry to promote microloans as an act of hope that empowers resourceful poor in their efforts to escape poverty.
Co-author Domen Bajde, from the University of Southern Denmark comments: “The advent of online microlending has expanded the pool of potential investors to anyone with internet access and $25 to spare.
“After learning that lenders were more interested in ’emotional returns’ rather than financial profit from their loans, platforms began to dramatise microlending as an act of aspirational hope and affinity toward the entrepreneurial poor.”
The research is also significant for charitable giving, noting that donors are more likely to contribute when they see their donations as a way of empowering the disadvantaged and when donations are experienced as impactful investments.
Nominations are Open for the 2023 Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) Awards
The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) has announced the call for nominations for the 2023 AWIEF Awards
The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) has announced the call for nominations for the 2023 AWIEF Awards.
In its seventh edition, since 2017, the prestigious awards recognise, honour, and celebrate the achievements of female entrepreneurs and business owners in Africa, across various industry sectors, for their contribution to the continent’s inclusive economic growth and development.
Nominees for the AWIEF Awards are both emerging and established female entrepreneurs and founders who have demonstrated outstanding vision, leadership, inspiration, and success in their businesses in line with AWIEF’s core areas of innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and socio-economic development.
The AWIEF Awards cover eight categories, each with specific criteria for qualification:
- Young Entrepreneur Award
- Tech Entrepreneur Award
- Agri Entrepreneur Award
- Creative Industry Award
- Empowerment Award
- Energy Entrepreneur Award
- Social Entrepreneur Award
- Lifetime Achievement Award
Nominations for the 2023 AWIEF Awards are open and will close on 17 July 2023. Candidates can either self-nominate themselves or be nominated by anybody else. Entries will be judged by an esteemed panel of business leaders and professionals.
The winners will be announced at a special ceremony and gala dinner in Kigali, Rwanda, during the AWIEF2023 Conference which will take place on 9 and 10 November 2023.
To nominate someone for an award, follow these steps:
- Click here
- Register your entrant profile by clicking “Submit an entry” in the top right-hand corner of the page.
- Fill in the nomination form and submit.
Nominations close at 23.59 CAT on 17 July 2023.
African Development Bank Empowers Women Entrepreneurs in Sahel Region with $950,000 Grant
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced a groundbreaking initiative to support women entrepreneurs in the Sahel region.
In a significant step towards promoting gender equality and economic empowerment in Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced a groundbreaking initiative to support women entrepreneurs in the Sahel region.
The bank’s Gender Equality Trust Fund will provide a grant of $950,000 to the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program. This funding, in addition to an earlier $3.9 million financing grant, aims to uplift 1,400 women-led enterprises and contribute to the region’s economic resilience and social cohesion.
“We are excited to extend the impact of the program that will reach more than a thousand women entrepreneurs across the Sahel region,” said Malado Kaba, the Bank’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society. “We believe one key to building resilient African societies is the inclusion of women in economic development. The program’s wide range of business-related training and coaching – in addition to increasing access to finance – will go a long way toward reaching that goal,” she added.
The Gender Equality Trust Fund’s support aligns with the bank’s overarching initiative, the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program. AFAWA aims to address the staggering $42 billion gender financing gap faced by women-led African enterprises and focuses on promoting gender-transformative lending and non-lending operations.
Investors King understands that Sahel region’s women entrepreneurs face significant barriers in accessing finance, markets, and business development services. To overcome these challenges and unlock their potential, the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program will equip women entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and resources.
This will help increase productivity, employment opportunities, and capacity building in entrepreneurship, core business functions, and management training.
However, to ensure the program’s success, the bank’s Gender, Women, and Civil Society Department conducted three studies and consulted with the Sahel region Chambers of Commerce, these studies help identified women-led businesses that will participate in the program.
Also, the bank supports national statistics offices in collecting gender-responsive data, enabling accurate measurement of the program’s impact.
The G5 Sahel Union of Chambers of Commerce will administer the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program in collaboration with financial institutions and intermediaries. This strategic partnership aims to directly support access to finance for local small and medium enterprises, creating a supportive ecosystem for women entrepreneurs in the Sahel region.
The Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program aligns with the African Development Bank’s 2021-2024 Private Sector Development Strategy, its 2021-2025 Gender Strategy, and the 2022-2026 strategy for addressing fragility and building resilience in Africa.
Ride-Hailing Drivers in Nigeria Demand Fare Increase by 200% From Ride-Hailing Companies
Drivers on e-ride hailing apps have demanded an increase of 200% of all fare following the increase in fuel price
Drivers on e-ride hailing apps under the aegis of ‘Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria’ (AUATWON) have demanded a fare increase of 200% from ride-hailing companies which include Uber, Bolt, and Rida, amongst others following the increase in fuel price.
The Union expressed their concerns over the increase in fuel price which impacts earnings and affects the profitability of drivers. The call for a 200% increase is to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy, which they noted that trip fares should be set at a minimum of N2,000.
Speaking at a meeting held on Thursday by the AUATWON, the union leader Damola Adeniran said,
“Due to the lack of control over transportation prices offered to passengers, unlike independent cab drivers, branded taxi drivers, and bus drivers, the fuel price in different states across Nigeria have significantly impacted app-based transport workers.
“Moreover, there has been an alarming 200 percent increase in the prices of vulcanizers, motor spare parts, and labor costs. Consequently, the profitability of AUATWON members have been severely diminished by more than 300 percent, while the ride- hailing companies continue to charge between 20-25 percent commission leaving the hardworking workers in pain.”
The association said;
“All app companies should immediately set their commission at a flat rate of 10 percent or reduce their commission by 50 percent without any hidden charges, considering the uniform commission charges that have rendered their business unprofitable.
In addition to the price increase, the union demanded a reduction in the commission charged by app companies and asked for a 5% subsidy to cushion the effect of the fare increase on riders.
The union, therefore, insists that no app company should deactivate any of the drivers as a result of fuel subsidy removal or for carrying out their lawful business unless they fail to act on the union’s demands.
Investors King understands that the lingering fuel scarcity rocking the nation is taking a huge toll on the ride-hailing industry with many drivers unable to meet up with daily targets and scheduled loans for repayment. Owing to the non-availability of fuel, many drivers have resorted to buying from black marketers at very exorbitant prices.
On the other hand, thousands of working-class Nigerians who rely heavily on ride-hailing companies for their daily commuting are reportedly abandoning them for alternative transport modes, following the increase in the fare price.
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