Funding entrepreneurs through travel : Bloom Microventures
Bloom Microventures is a non profit social enterprise currently operating in Vietnam. Bloom Microventures offers "microfinance tours" to low income communities in developing countries. Bloom Microventures recently made into the top 5 tours to take in Hanoi on popular travel forum and website Tripadvisor.Travelers go on their microfinance tour and meet with local micro entrepreneurs while exploring the natural and cultural sights in the location. This gives travelers an opportunity to interact with the local community. The fees paid for the tour is disbursed as microloans with the entrepreneurs with whom the travelers have interacted. Travelers can follow the progress and repayments through their online project center.
The idea was born to harness the potential of tourism to reduce poverty by providing options for travellers to get off the beaten path and explore unique elements of local culture, learn about local livelihoods all the while leaving rural marginalised women and the visited community better off
says the cofounder Felix Baden-Powell.
Explaining how a typical tour operates Felix says "We run a unique day tour to Soc Son (40km North of Hanoi) that gives our guests the chance to learn about local culture and livelihoods, explore a side of rural Vietnam very few tourists ever experience and make a major difference to the lives of Vietnamese farmers.
Guests will gain a genuine insight into how many people live in rural Vietnam, spending the day with a group of people who very much want the chance to improve their lives. The tour fees directly fund a low-interest microloan for a woman who our guests will meet during the tour. We spend a few hours visiting these women and with the help of our fantastic translators guests will learn a great deal about the challenges that marginalised women face here in Vietnam as well as about the local history, religious customs, and culture.
Guests can also try their hand at some agricultural activities with our borrowers such as rice and tomato farming as well as explore the village and surrounding areas on foot and bicycle."
In Vietnam, Bloom Microventures works in close collaboration with a local Non-Governmental Organisation called the Microfinance and Community Development Institute (MACDI). MACDI provides support to Bloom Microventures in finding new borrowers, provides basic accounting and technical training for the borrowers, and facilitates the collection of interest and principle payments. Through the partnership with MACDI, Bloom Microventures hopes to increase the incomes of impoverished households, create a habit of saving among the target populations, and support the development of small scale enterprises.
Responsible tourism has gained popularity among many tourists visiting developing countries. What does responsible tourism mean to you ? Will the Bloom Microventures model work in India ? Write to us at contact(at)yourstory.in