Wealth of nations is measured by the number of growing SMEs -- Africa is one of the most rapidly growing economic regions in the world, representing a tremendous, yet untapped business potential. More than 380 million people have no access to funding. This is a disastrous problem for Africa's growth and prosperity as it is typically microenterprises and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that are unable to borrow money in order to develop, create jobs, formalize companies, pay local taxes, etc. This gap in the loan market is known as the 'missing middle.'
MYC4 wants first to demonstrate significant impact in East Africa and then scale to other regions of Africa and the world.
Although our business model has undergone several iterations, it was initially built on three fundamental principles. These principles focus on investment results derived from the performance of the interrelated dimensions of profit, people and the planet, also known as the 'Triple Bottom Line.' (TPL)
Profit: inspired by how the Internet corporation eBay transformed the paradigm of trading with people you have never met, we were enthused to build an online, transparent, and scalable marketplace offering financial services that target small-scale businesses in Africa. As with eBay, MYC4 should be a sustainable business in itself.
People: MYC4 is used as a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platform, directly connecting entrepreneurs in small-scale businesses in Africa with global investors to engage in impact investing. This process demonstrates the theory of Wisdom of Crowds.
Planet: United Nations 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) served as an inspiration to MYC4 when former General Secretary Kofi Annan stated that the MDGs could not be reached if businesses did not engage. MYC4 believes; 'Business must be for profit, yet profit must be for purpose,' applying this mind set to help improve access to capital for African entrepreneurs.
Social innovation is more relevant today than ever before because it can be realized by anyone; it creates a positive and radical transformation. Social innovation has a powerful and lasting effect and allows for scalability. With this in mind, in order to give seven billion people across the globe an equal opportunity to realize their full potential, the development of new and sustainable solutions for the promotion of human living conditions is mandatory.
Our advice to any budding entrepreneurs would be; if you can imagine it, why not build it? Find great people to team up with and do not be scared to share your vision and progress with others. Together we can make it a greater world... bit by bit.
Mads Kjaer, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, MYC4, Denmark; Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2013.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, in recognition of the latter's Social Entrepreneurs Class of 2013. For more than a decade, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has selected leading models of social innovation from around the world. Today we have 254 from nearly 60 countries, covering renewable energy and sanitation to job training and access to higher education. Follow the Schwab Foundation on Twitter at @schwabfound or nominate a Social Entrepreneur at http://www.schwabfound.org/sf/index.htm. To see all the post in the series, click here.