We are no superheroes
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 54 seconds.
On a fresh orange juice in the neoclassic city center of Sucre, Bolivia
Dead end micro finance
How to explain a person that seems otherworldly even though that same person tells me that exactly this story is untrue? It is true social entrepreneurs are glorified for what they do. Hero-like country leaders that emerge from the swamp of a money-driven world, beautifully building businesses rather than rejecting capitalist ideas utilizing those to create real and lasting impact. It is hard to not cheer for social entrepreneurs. I will, however, try to do so.
Already early in his life, Salomon Raydan was driven by the potential of finance to lift people out of poverty. Not purposefully he created a contrary idea to the very successful concept of micro finance developed by Muhammad Yunus for which Yunus later received the Nobel Peace Prize.
“The misconception we have is that poor people don’t have any money. That is absolutely not true. They just don’t have the stable income they need and that is where we can support.”
Saving is one way out of poverty
Salomon learned through indigenous people in India that that the idea of community saving is not new. It persisted all over the world with slight variations. Taking up those concepts, he added aspects such as the inclusion of shares as a way to engage the community to really take ownership. Also part of the Fundefir concept is a democratic decision about how the money is utilized. Individual ownership of shares is limited so no more than 15% of share. Therefore, decisions remain democratic. Moreover, Salomon states, “Balance of interests in the community is created through the possibility to take out a loan and be a lender at the same time, profit maximization and fair treatment balance out.” As far as I understood it the truly outstanding success of Bankomunales around the world is that communities develop true ownership. Actually the projects are driven by the community. a tremendous success. This is an achievement most international development projects didn’t achieve in a century.
Micro savings to micro finance
As much human, Salomon is also a restless spirit in his pursuit to change the world for the better. His next project is all around micro finance. In 2015, he had to leave his home Venezuela towards Colombia where he lives as an exile ever since. Colombia is also the place where his new idea evolved. The basic goal is to enable humble families to access insurance which can cover for basic needs such as emergency health care. With the new concept Buffer against Poverty only $3 of monthly fees are sufficient to cover for life, credit and health insurance. It is strange at first to create social impact by working with massive insurance corporates but that is the success formula in Salomon’s case and also a key part of social entrepreneurship. The fees create jobs by employing community advisers that bring the product to the people.
In my opinion, a union of business and social impact has the potential to have great impact. Yes, Salomon is a human being but a very inspiring one. His property got taken away. Furthermore, in the turmoil in Venezuela, his company lost almost all its value. He went through a lot of hardship in Venezuela but he never gave up and sold everything that remained to get his dream of Bankomunales going. Micro insurance is his next project and not a tiny bit less inspiring. We’ll hear from him soon.
22th February 2018, Petermann Island, Antarctica