The MYC4 platform is put together in such a way that all loans are financed through a process of competitive crowd funding. MYC4 investors first pool resources to fund each of the open loans and then compete to participate on the loans by selecting their own interest rates. At the end of the process, each loan is funded by many investors and the investors with the highest and least attractive interest rates are “kicked out”.
Crowd funding is a collective effort where people network and pull their money and resources together to support initiatives by other people and organisations. On the MYC4 platform micro and small business loans are financed, but this method of raising funds is used elsewhere to support a wide variety of activities, including:
- Disaster relief
- Political campaigns
- Paying of medical bills
- Building of schools, children homes and rehabilitation centres
- Start up companies
- Inventions and scientific researches
- Support of an artist by fans
In Kenya, crowd funding is used mostly in the case of medical bills where relatives and friends use the internet and the media to raise funds for their loved ones as well as for disaster relief. The most recent, outstanding and successful initiative where crowd funding was used in Kenya was the Bring Zack Back Home Campaign.
Bring Zack Back Home
The Bring Zack Back Home campaign is a fund-raising initiative that aims to raise 250 million shs (approximately €2.2 million) to build a spinal cord treatment centre in Kenya that can accommodate up to 75,000 spinal injury victims. The name highlights Zack Kimotho who is also the face of the campaign. Zack is paralysed from waist down because he was shot by thugs in 2004. In June 2012, he set out to travel 4000 km to South Africa in a wheel chair because that is where the nearest spinal treatment centre is located. The initiative was launched by Kenya Paraplegic Organization (KPO) who works to empower people dealing with serious spinal cord injuries in Kenya. Safaricom, a leading mobile phone operator in Kenya together with local media groups have backed the initiative and so has the Kenyan public. Kenyans were asked to donate 1 shs (€0.0086) a day for 60 days using their mobile phones, and there were those that donated 2-5 shs a day. The essence of the campaign was not to let Zack travel all the way to South Africa in a wheel chair but to fund raise the amount needed and bring him home. With every day that passed and the amount was not realised meant that Zack would continue his journey to South Africa.
The first phase of the campaign which ended in August 2012 saw Zack cover 115 KM in a wheelchair by road and raise 73 million shs (€630,00). 500,000 shs (€4,300) was raised by Kenyans contributing 1 shilling a day, and around 100,000 shs (€860), was raised by those donating 2-5 shs. The rest of the money was contributed by corporate entities and well wishers. The amount was used to buy a plot of land at Kiserian in Nairobi on which the spinal injury treatment centre will be built. The breaking of the ground for the start of this project was done on the 12th of September 2012. It is believed that the second phase of this crowd funding initiative will make the dream of Kenya having its own spinal injury treatment centre actualised. This will not only benefit the people of Kenya but also those in the region. This first phase saw Zack return home until the second phase which is to start at a later date yet to be made public.