“I think ‘work’ is anything I’m doing with intention and purpose… I feel lucky that I get to wake up every day and spend my days doing things I believe in.” ~ Jessica Jackley, Cofounder of Kiva

Summary: As cofounder of Kiva, the platform that pioneered micro lending, Jessica Jackley stands out as a woman at the forefront of social entrepreneurship. By offering loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries who are too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans, Jackley helped create an online community of peer-to-peer lenders and borrowers that has sparked hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurial transactions around the world since the platform’s creation. Kiva’s success laid the groundwork for the popularity of crowd funding and changed many individuals’ mentalities about charitable giving, resulting in huge social impact around the world.

Nationality: American

Industry: Technology & Microfinance

Q: You clearly have a lifelong desire to help people in need. How did you come to focus on entrepreneurship as a means of realizing that desire? on gsb.stanford.edu

A: I was dissatisfied with the mechanisms in traditional philanthropy that seemed to turn my desire to help others into a transaction between haves and have-nots as opposed to a relationship between people. Then, in my first job out of college, as a temp at the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford, I heard Dr. Muhammad Yunus speak about microfinance. It was funny, because even though I was in this very entrepreneurial place, maybe the entrepreneurial capital of the world, I was slow to understand how entrepreneurship could solve social problems. After that, it really clicked when I went to East Africa and met entrepreneurs whose lives had been changed by microlending. I understood that the people who I so longed to help could themselves be entrepreneurs.