Co-working space provider Christie Spaces has developed a new member offer that will see the company providing microloans to entrepreneurs in India.
Christie Spaces will work with Opportunity International and will provide funding to Opportunity International’s microloan program. Christie Spaces’ CEO Robert Christie says the goal is to impact the lives of 20,200 people by the end of 2020.
“What it comes down to is putting money and thoughts to areas that have more benefits,” says Robert. “To give someone $1,000 in Australia, that’s nothing, if you’re giving $1,000 to India that’s something and if you give $100,000 to India, that’s even more. It sends a message of what you stand for.”
Christie Spaces recently launched its premium co-working offering across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Christie Spaces offers multiple levels of working arrangements, from co-working spaces, private offices, and services spaces. Every new member of Christie Spaces Every new member of the Christie Spaces community will help provide a microloan as part of the collaboration.
“I’ve done things with Opportunity International before, and I’ve been to India,” Robert says. It’s more to do with social justice, from my point of view. Why are we doing this? You might as well be making a statement of who you are, making it clear to potential clients who you are. I don’t know if there’s a commercial benefit, but that’s not my reasoning. I think it’s more about being clear about who you are and what you stand for.”
Microfinance is a system of providing banking-like services to people who predominately can’t access banking services, either because of unemployment, or low income. Historically, payback on microloans tops 90%.
“What microfinance is fundamentally is about lending to people for businesses,” Robert says. “Mostly the groups are women, they’re better at it and more responsible about it. It’s more to do with the benefit of their children, really. It’s investment into microloans for people to establish very small businesses with a group payback system.”
While Christie Space’s microloan donation is not explicitly tied to business strategy, Robert notes that because many of Christie Spaces clients are also entrepreneurs, the idea “runs parallel.”
“I’m thinking that it’s more to do with a statement of who we are,” he says. “We’re not trying to get members or clients of ours to make donations or whatever. Over a period of time, it’s going to be more than hundreds of dollars, and it’s something that people should do.