This charity means business

Posted on 02 Nov 2023

By Greg Thom, journalist, Institute of Community Directors Australia


An innovative new microfinance program backed by Care Australia aims to support financially disadvantaged small business owners in the Asia-Pacific.

Lendwithcare allows Australians to invest in countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, enabling new and existing business owners to not only earn a living, but grow their enterprise.

Once their business is up and running or has achieved the goal of the loan, they repay the money.

Investors can then reinvest in another business, withdraw their money, or donate to Care Australia.

The program endeavours to address the financial barriers faced by small entrepreneurs in low-income communities as well as to provide Australians with a sustainable way to give to charity and help people change their lives.

It is estimated more than 1.4 billion people across the world don’t have access to the financial services they need to improve their quality of life.

Most of these are women living below the poverty line in rural areas with little opportunity to overcome financial barriers.

They include people like Ethyl, who requested a loan via Lendwithcare to purchase seeds and organic fertiliser for her small farm in the Philippines.

Or Vietnam-based Mrs Thao who needs extra cash to buy two buffaloes for livestock breeding.


Visitors to the Lendwithcare website can see pictures of both women, their financial goals and how much has been donated to their causes so far, before deciding whether to contribute at the click of a button.

Care Australia said many women around the world can’t access the money and support they need to start or grow their businesses.

This is because firms owned by women tend to be smaller than those owned by men, meaning women are often left with few options when financial times get tough.

Screenshot 2023 10 31 170617
A donation of as little as $25 can help realise the financial goals of some of the most worlds most disadvantaged entrepreneurs.

The Lendwithcare program helps address this gender gap, with most loans going to small businesses run by women.

Along with generating economic growth, access to financial services can have a positive knock-on effect, opening the door to more independence, educational opportunities and, most importantly, hope.

First launched in the UK, Lendwithcare has now been established in Australia in a bid to close the financial gap in the Asia-Pacific.

“Microfinance empowers those who may otherwise be disenfranchised.”
CARE Australia CEO, Peter Walton.

CARE Australia CEO Peter Walton said microloans give hope and can transform lives, especially the lives of women and children.

“Lendwithcare is also about solidarity,” said Mr Walton.

“It is a platform rallying Australians to make a direct impact on the lives of people who often don't have access to the hand up that they need to support their families.

“Microfinance empowers those who may otherwise be disenfranchised.”

Mr Walton said as part of an international confederation, CARE Australia is uniquely positioned to be the bridge between capital in hand, and the communities CARE works with around the world who need additional support.

"Lendwithcare creates a virtuous cycle of empowerment and opportunity,” said Mr Walton.

“Borrowers gain the means to support themselves and empower their communities.

“Lenders, in turn, experience the satisfaction of seeing their initial loan not only transform one life, but also continuously multiply its impact when re-lent to more and more deserving individuals."

Lendwithcare ambassador and businesswoman Naomi Simson said there was an estimated $1.7 trillion financing gap for female entrepreneurs in low-and middle-income countries.

“Lendwithcare will seek to change this and provide an amazing opportunity for Australians to help make a real and positive impact.”

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