Deborah supports entrepreneurs in the developing world
Deborah last night presented to a hundred top City figures at ‘An Evening with Deborah Meaden’ at the Commonwealth Club in Trafalgar Square, sponsored by Edison Investment Research in aid of Lendwithcare.org.
Deborah is an Ambassador for Lendwithcare, a microfinance initiative from CARE International UK in association with The Co-operative. Lendwithcare allows individuals and companies in the UK to lend small amounts of money to entrepreneurs in developing countries, to help them start or expand their small business, feed their families and send their children to school.
In 2011 Deborah was approached by Lendwithcare to become their official Ambassador. Her business background and high-profile dealings with entrepreneurs in the UK made her a natural fit as a figurehead for the charity. Deborah was keen to ensure that the model worked effectively for the poor before agreeing to lend her name to the initiative. She accompanied Lendwithcare to Cambodia where she saw first-hand how Lendwithcare works and met some of the entrepreneurs who had received small loans through the scheme. She was “blown away” by what she saw.
Inspired by her visit, Deborah agreed to address guests at the evening reception, where she told of the small villages she visited and the people she met. Deborah said: “Seeing Lendwithcare implemented in Cambodia was extremely inspiring; CARE introduced me to a whole new kind of ‘entrepreneur’. I described the people I met in Cambodia as ‘entrepreneurs in the raw’, and that is really what they are. They don’t want to be millionaires - they want to survive, and make a better life for themselves and their families.
“Meeting them affirmed my view that ‘profit’ must not be measured solely in financial terms, but by intended outcome. And for the people I met, their intended outcome was improving their lives and their communities. So the small businesses I saw in Cambodia were, in those terms, absolutely thriving.”
The event aimed to educate and inform guests about the advantages of microfinance, and to inspire them to get involved on a personal or corporate level by supporting Lendwithcare. During her speech Deborah acknowledged the personal nature of charity giving, hoping that people in the room would find reason to become involved themselves. Her speech motivated a number of people to ‘invest’ in entrepreneurs then and there; many others pledged to become involved through financial or corporate support. Lendwithcare felt the evening was extremely successful.
Deborah described her own reasons for supporting Lendwithcare: “I really liked the idea of lendwithcare from the start. I love this idea of putting together people who have money, and want to see what their money is doing, with people who need their money. I think that’s a magical combination. You get your money back, and that’s good because it means the project has been successful. But really, I think the success can be measured by the change it has left behind.”
To find out more about Deborah's trip to Cambodia click here. If you would like to join Deborah in supporting lendwithcare.org you can make a loan from just £15 to improve the life of a poor person in a developing country at www.lendwithcare.org