New Endowment Fund Aimed at Start-up Businesses Where They're Needed the Most

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The Southam Endowment will manage loans through Kiva.org to support entrepreneurs in some of the world's most impoverished areas.

Southam Endowment

We believe with targeted lending, we can empower people to succeed when there are no local resources available and this can be trans formative for the individual, the family, the community, and indeed the entire planet. > JOSHUA SOUTHAM

Seattle-based Southam Creative announced today that it has created a new endowment fund which will focus financial resources in the form of micro-lending to entrepreneurs in Africa and South America. Under the banner of its namesake, the Southam Endowment has already made its first loans with hopes to grow the fund to over $1 million by 2020.

The Endowment was created to support local entrepreneurs in some of the economically poorest areas on Earth. Joshua Southam, one of the Fund’s sponsors, said, “We recognize that it is through determination, motivation, and hard work that people succeed. In America, resources to succeed are easily available and we see millions of people using these resources to prosper. We believe with targeted lending, we can empower people to succeed when there are no local resources available and this can be trans formative for the individual, the family, the community, and indeed the entire planet.”

When loans are repaid those funds are recycled back into the Endowment along with any accumulated interest, although most loans are granted at a 0% interest rate. A committee of five individuals have been entrusted to research applicants and make loans which range from $50 to $5,000. The team will accelerate growth of the fund by encouraging individuals to make their own micro-loans under the Southam Endowment banner.

“Give a person a fish, you feed them. Teach them to fish, they feed themselves. Our job is to loan them the resources they need for poles, hooks, lines, and sinkers,” said Southam Creative Chairman, Randal Southam who will head the Endowment Lending Committee. “We believe that even the smallest of loans can change lives, improve the world we live in and make a meaningful impact. It is my sincerest hope that we will generate millions of dollars and that the Endowment will still be making loans generations from now.”

Loans are made through Kiva.org which manages the actual lending and repayment process. Kiva is a world leader in enabling individuals and organizations to make a lasting difference through micro-lending. Carol Renaud, who has managed financial operations for Southam Creative since 1999 said the company will cover all expenses related to lending which will maximize the amount of money made available to lending. “We want to ensure financial transparency and will publish a lending activity on the public website,” she said.

Based in Seattle, Southam Creative is a low-key business development and investment firm which owns, participates in ownership, and/or operates a number of brands in the United States. The private company is closely held and does not often disclose information about its investments or operating units, leaving disclosure up to each company in its portfolio.

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