Results of the microcreditcompetition

In march this year I started a micro-credit competition in cooperation with the Young Economic Affairs Association. We have used the MyC4 platform for the competition. The goal of the competition was to determine the best social investor. A title which is earned by scoring both on financial results and on social results.

The financial results has been determined by the average rate of return, the social result by comparing the number of Millennium Development Goals per Euro invested.

The competition

The competition started with 25 participants, each investing between 20 and 50 Euro. In total the participants uploaded Euro 1.000,- to their accounts at MyC4. Part of that is still untouched on the accounts, because only 12 of the participants actually invested their money.

In total they invested Euro 518 in 56 African entrepreneurs. Three investors were able to use repayments to make a reinvestment during the competition.

Results

Best Financial Investor:

  1. 30604:   16,76%
  2. 30607:   16,67%
  3. 30598:   15,89%

Most Social Investor

  1. 30690:
    0,32 Millenium Development Goal per Euro
    Level MyC4 punten 5
  2. 30593:
    0,32 Millenium Development Goal per Euro
    Level MyC4 punten 4
  3. 30607:
    0,316 Millenium Development Goal per Euro

Best Social Investor

  1. 30607
    0,316 Millenium Development Goal per Euro
    Gemiddelde rente 16,67%
    Overall 43,21 punten
  2. 30610
    0,320 Millenium Development Goal per Euro
    Gemiddelde rente 13,96%
    Overall 37,92 punten
  3. 30604
    0,108 Millenium Development Goal per Euro
    Gemiddelde rente 16,76%
    Overall 36,88 punten

The winners of the micro-credit competition received their award today, amongst which the book Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo and White men’s burden.

Lessons learned

The MyC4 platform is capable of hosting competitions, because investors can make their own decisions about the interest-rate they charge to entrepreneurs. The Dutch auction makes sure participants will be bid out if they bid to high.

In a competition it should be easy to see which investments your competitors have made, so you can try to bid a lower percentage to get them out of certain investments. I experimented with a to provide this service, but it didn’t work well. As not all bids became visable in the FriendFeed-room. This hindered the participant in getting a view on how their competitors were doing.

Administrating the competition has proven to be very time-consuming. Because MyC4 hasn’t got a API or a simple way to extract figures or recombine the biddings of the participants. So each participants has to be checked individually. MyC4 Watch has recently became a solution for the financial part of the competition, because they now have the possibility to request to update the information of a user.

The participants were dependent on my own overviews each month, but I missed the time to make that overview each month. A tool to automate that would be very handy. MyC4 Watch contains the basics for it, but I think an open API will be needed before those kind of tools will really take off.

Future thoughts

I think group competitions will be more interesting than individual competitions for the future. The group feature of Kiva is very interesting in that respect. It gives users to possibility to join groups and to compare their performance against other groups. On Kiva it’s only on number of entrepreneurs that are provided a loan and the amount invested. On MyC4 you could also compare groups on financial performance. That would give the possibility to organise competitions between organizations or groups of people.

For now I want to thank the Young EA board & the MyC4 staff for their cooperation & all the help I received the last year in setting the competition up. I will try to make all used resources available for other investors here on MyC4 in the coming months. And I’m curious your thoughts about running competitions on investing in Africa?

First thoughts about the Wal-Mart sustainability index #WMTSust

Last week Wal-Mart announced during a webcast they will initiate a global sustainability index. Not only for Wal-Mart but open for competitors, suppliers, NGO’s and governments to join. The model hasn’t been revealed yet. Although the openness of the sustainability index suggest it might look like the Marine Steward Council or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

During the webcast Wal-Mart showed some interesting examples how they helped suppliers with the turn-around to become a more sustainable company, with a positive value proposition for all parties involved: Wal-Mart, the supplier, the customer and the environment.

  1. The Wal-Mart initiative will consist of 3 steps:Walmart will provide each of its 100,000 global suppliers with a survey of 15 simple, but powerful, questions to evaluate their own company’s sustainability. The questions are divided into four areas:
    – Energy and Climate
    – Natural resources
    – Material efficiency
    – People and Community
  2. Lifecycle Analysis Database
  3. A Simple Tool for Consumers to access and interpretate the data of the Lifecycle Analysis Database

Reactions on Wal-Mart sustainability index

Traditional Dutch media haven’t picked up the story yet, accept for Elsevier and De Telegraaf. Both did cover the story which led to a news items on FoodHolland news and MD Weekly.

I posted the news about the Wal-Mart initiative on several Dutch online communities where I’m active. The reactions until now are mixed. Although positive about the announcement, most reactions are skeptical on two points:

  1. Will Wal-Mart really become sustainable, they are not in any sustainable index themselves?
  2. Will Wal-Mart make the sustainability data really available in a reusable format?

Reactions on the sustainability claim

Wal-Mart isn’t in the SAM Sustainibility Index 2009. Also ASN-bank (one of the biggest Dutch ethical banks) decided a few years ago to sell their investment in Wal-Mart and remove it from their list of potential investments because of, amongst others things, the selling of fire arms. As far as my knowledge goes this decision sill stands.

Also there has been protests against the opening of new Wal-Mart stores and about labour conditions for Wal-Mart staff. After all, in a sustainable world shopping isn’t only about the best product for the cheapest price, it’s also about knowing that people working for a company and their suppliers all can earn a decent living.

So it will be very interesting to see if and when Wal-Mart expands it’s supply chain management to their own stores and live up to the standards they set for their suppliers.

Reactions on the open data

The data Wal-Mart wants to release to customers worldwide in the future is considered as very helpful and wanted. But it will depend on the way their consortium publishes the data it will live up those expectations. The data should be available in an open standard (like XBRL or XHTML) and reusable (through an open application interface (API), so web-companies can compete to make the best userinterface to serve customers worldwide.

This doesn’t have to take years to come to the market, as several mobile apps and augmented reality browsers are already coming to the market as we speak. Some futuristic looking concepts are discussed on sites like ReadWriteWeb. For example the wearable internet.

It will be interesting to see if Wal-Mart is able to take advantage of the innovation power of the social web community and people like Tim Berners Lee and his quest for raw data now to provide a web of linked data. If so that might speed up the realisation of Wal-Mart’s sustainability ambitions and earn them a place in indexes like the SAM Sustainability Index or other sustainable indexes.

What’s my verdict?

In my opinion the announcement by Wal-Mart is a major one and one that I’m very positive about.

The idea that it may take another 3 to 10 years to get labels on consumer products sounds pretty slow to me. On the other hand: Wal-Mart is a huge company and change takes time. They are in a very good position to reform their supply chain, as they are huge in terms of revenues and customers served. Giving them the market power to really transform their supply chain to a more sustainable one. I do hope other retaillers will join the initiative and that the data will be available to consumers faster.

So what do you think of Wal-Mart’s sustainability ambitions?

April overview Young Economic Affairs microcredit competition

It’s time for a little update on the Young EA Microcredit competition. The competition is on for a month now. There are 25 contestents competing for the titles:

  1. Best social investor
  2. Most social investor
  3. Best financial investor

The first category is a combination of the second and third category. The most social investor is the one who earns the most Millenium Development Goals per Euro invested. The best financial investors is the one with the highest average interestrate. Both are measured based on active loans only.

Each contestent has invested €20 to €50, together they have invested about a € 1,000. The competition is running through the MyC4 platform.

The spreadsheet used to calculate the results isn’t final yet, so the overview below may change as formulas are adjusted and tuned.

Top 5 in april

The current top 5 of social investors (user iDs, no name):

  1. 30607 with 39.42%
  2. 30610 with 37.25%
  3. 30604 with 36.13%
  4. 30598 with 35.38%
  5. 30591 with 35.00%

Top 5 most social investors:

  1. 30593 with 0.4 MDG/€ invested
  2. 30607 with 0.33 MDG/€ invested
  3. 30610 with 0.33 MDG/€ invested
  4. 30599 with 0.26 MDG/€ invested
  5. 30596 and 30591 both with 0.20 MDG/€ invested

Top 5 best financial investors:

  1. 30604 with 16.5%
  2. 30598 with 16.13%
  3. 30609 with 15.08%
  4. 30607 with 14.50%
  5. 30591 with 14.38%

Which shows both that it is possible to combine a good financial revenue with social goals, and that an investor can follow different strategies to get a high overall rating in the competition.

About half of the contestenst hasn’t made their first investment yet. So that does require some more attention to actually get people to invest.

More information about the competion

The information about the competition is currently only available in Dutch. I will be working on making all documents and the spreadsheet used available in English under Creative Commons license.

La nuit de la Vérité (2004)

La Nuit de la Vérité by Fanta Nacro is an impressive movie about tribal conflicts on the African continent. The movie is situated in an imaginary West African country. After ten years of civil war beween the government army of the Nayak, led by ‘Le président’ (Adama Ouédraogo), and the Bonande rebels led by Colonel Theo (Commandant Moussa Cissé), there is some sign of peace negotiations. Not everyone is in favour of peace though, and one can feel the tension. The night of truth starts with a festive dinner, but the village idiot Tomoto always seems capable of ruining the attempts for peace with violence and provocation.

Although I don’t like a lot of African movies I’ve seen over the years, this one was very impressive. Perhaps it is caused by the fact the storyline and characters are somehow more western, or maybe it is because I’ve learned more about the current situation in Africa. But fact is the movie contains some very powerfull images about the cruelties of civil war, and of the rivalling factions trying to come to peace with each other.

Tsunami 2004

The past days there has been a lot of attention for the earthquake and the following tsunami tragedy South-East Asia. For the ones looking for information, take a look an some of the following blogs: TsunamiHelp, SEA-EAT(South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunamis), http://www.thiswayplease.com/extra.html, of op worldchanging.com. They are partly written by people living in the affected areas.

In The Netherlands the centralised bankaccount Giro 555 has been opened for donations. For people in other countries who wish to donate, please take a look at the following site, to find a charity to support:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donations_for_victims_of_the_2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake

Look at one of these sites for more information on missing persons:

The Red Cross: www.familylinks.icrc.org

BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/4130565.stm

WikiNews: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Tsunami_Help/Missing_%26_Found (site contains more links to missing person lists)

SEA-EAT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsunamimissing/2816366/

Official Thai list of missing persons: http://www.missingpersons.or.th/lostform_list.php

NOS (Dutch Broadcasting company): http://www.nos.nl/journaal/indiscussie/zeebeving/namenlijst_thailand.html (Please be aware that the names only indicate that they are searched for on the website of the NOS, nothing else).

Thai ministery: http://www.csiphuket.com/

For a more extensive update see SEA-EAT-blog, Wikinews or search more blogs:

Greetings, Krispijn