The Yakezie Writing Contest And Micro-Giving

One of my favorite business school classes focused on Emerging Market Economies.  We read C.K. Prahalad’s book called, “Fortune At The Bottom Of The Pyramid“, which basically described how entrepreneurs were finding cost effective ways to serve the poorest people in the world and also be profitable.

Conventional business wisdom states that one must go after those consumers with the deepest pockets and the highest propensity to spend.  Prahalad argues that we have a social responsibility to help the other end of the spectrum improve their living standards and not be afraid of going bust in the process.

One of the keys that came out of helping the poor in emerging markets is the concept of micro-lending.  Micro-lending is a fascinating concept which essentially pools together the funds of people in usually small communities, and lends out those funds to a select few.  Together, a community is able to help each other more impactfully than if they were separate.  What’s also very interesting is that the tighter the community, the lower the default rates compared to conventional banks because everybody feels a deep sense of responsibility.


The Yakezie Network of 70+ personal finance and lifestyle blogs have pulled together their funds to provide more than $1,000 to be divided among three winning contestants.  If each of us gave just $15 a quarter, we would collectively be able to distribute at least $600, $300, and $100 to the first, second, and third place winners who will use these funds to further their education.  We hope to slowly raise much more than a combined $1,000 as our blogs flourish and the Network grows.

What’s different from the Yakezie Writing Contest is that we are not a micro-lender, but a micro-giver where we expect very little in return.  Whether the recipient ever comes back to the Yakezie Network to interact and learn is up to them.  All we ask is that they use the funds to help pay for their education.  Students often have very little income and rely on low wages or their parents to get by.  I think we can help them.

In terms of creating profits for this particular venture, the idea is to simply have corporate sponsors with a history of giving, support our initiative.  Running the Yakezie Network is an absolute loss-making venture if we were to put a dollar value on the amount of time we spend building, testing, marketing, and running the Network.  Hence, we appreciate any type of support we can get.  The good thing is that neither Chris, nor I, or the majority of our members rely on our blogs as sole sources of income.  We all do this for the love of community, the challenge of development, and the spirit of giving back.


If you know of anybody who enjoys writing, and is looking for funds to help pay for their education, have them visit The Yakezie Writing Contest today!  All they have to do is follow the directions and write an essay answering one of eight questions.  The submission window is from Monday, April 18th to midnight, April 22nd.  If you would like to pledge any money to help contribute to our micro-giving efforts, please visit the Yakezie Pledge Page.

It’s been six years since adventuring down to Rio De Janeiro for several weeks to study abroad and get a taste of real life micro-lending examples as discussed by Prahalad.  After a lot of thought and hard work, I’m so pleased to say that we’ve finally created our own sustainable micro-giving platform with the Yakezie Writing Contest!

Thanks for all the support!

Readers, have you had an experiences with micro-giving?  There have been a number of micro-giving initiatives in India in particular and I’m wondering if there are other countries that you’ve noticed this practice flourish besides India, USA, and Brazil?



Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

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  1. Sandy @ yesiamcheap says

    I am incredibly happy to be a part of this wholesome adventure of making a small difference in a student’s life. If we pool together very small contributions we can have a big impact on someone’s life. I am always honored to be a part of this group especially when we pool to do well.

  2. says

    Great job Sam on the pledge page for the Yakezie Writing Contest! Untemplater’s pledge is up :) I love helping motivated youth in need and think you created such a wonderful platform for students to share their stories and get support from the community. Giving back feels great.

    • says

      Thanks Sydney for your support and pledge! I was careful to emphasize there is no right about to give. Anything is great, and we were also conscientious that everybody’s finances are different. I hope folks can contribute at least $10 a quarter. Makes a big diff if we pool our might!

  3. says

    The “for-profit” microlending funds are booming – way higher returns than the 10% people are bragging about on lendingclub. These loans go for 100%+ annual rates and defaults aren’t that bad. If you buy a villager a cell phone it can change their life (and their income). The kiva.orgs of the world don’t seek to profit the way some of the other outfits are, but either way, all these people want is a chance.

  4. says

    If we end up with a huge overflow of money maybe we should micro give to small communities in poor countries as a side project. Buy them a water filter or something!

    I much prefer the idea of micro giving to micro lending :)….

    • says

      Sounds like a great idea! Although, I doubt for the time being we will have a “huge overflow”. I’m hoping we raise at least $1,500 so that the winners can really get something meaty for their education. Thnx for your $100 pledge!

  5. says

    Oh yeah I’m a big believer in micro-giving/loans, primarily via I add $25 on my birthday and at xmas and for every increment of 100 facebook fans.

    Maybe you should start a Yakezie lending team on Kiva?

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