In the tradition of Kabul Beauty School and Start Something That Matters comes an inspiring story of social entrepreneurship from Jessica Jackley, the co-founder of Kiva, the first online microlending platform for the working poor. Featuring lessons learned from successful businesses in the world’s poorest countries, Jessica Jackley’s book, Clay Water Brick, will motivate readers to more deeply appreciate the incredible entrepreneurial potential that exists in every human being on this planet, especially themselves.
Meet Patrick, who had next to nothing and started a thriving business using just the ground beneath his feet . . . Blessing, who built her shop right in the middle of the road, refusing to take the chance that her customers might pass her by . . . Constance, who cornered the banana market in her African village with her big personality and sense of mission. Patrick, Blessing, Constance, and many others are among the poorest of the world’s poor. And yet they each had crucial lessons to teach Jessica Jackley, lessons about resilience, creativity, perseverance, and, above all, entrepreneurship.
For as long as she could remember, Jackley, the co-founder of the revolutionary microlending site Kiva, had a singular and urgent ambition: to help alleviate global poverty. While in her twenties, she set off for Africa to finally meet the people she had long dreamed of helping. The insights of those she met changed her understanding. Today she believes that many of the most inspiring entrepreneurs in the world are not focused on high-tech ventures or making a lot of money; instead, they wake up every day and build better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities, regardless of the things they lack or the obstacles they encounter. As Jackley puts it, “The greatest entrepreneurs succeed not because of what they possess but because of what they are determined to do.”
In Clay Water Brick, Jackley challenges readers to embrace entrepreneurship as a powerful force for change in the world. She shares her own story of founding Kiva with little more than a laptop and a dream, and the stories and the lessons she has learned from those across the globe who are doing the most with the least.
The heart of entrepreneurship is never about what we have. It’s about what we do.
It has been my goal and passion over the years to share stories of the entrepreneurs I’ve met with honesty, integrity and transparency.
It is everyone’s responsibility to represent one another with this kind of intention: to tell one another’s stories as they would tell those stories themselves. This is what I have aimed to do in this book.
This book is for anyone who wants to be inspired to make progress toward their dreams despite the challenges standing in their way.
About the Author
Jessica is an entrepreneur, investor, and speaker. Her work over the last decade has focused on financial inclusion, the sharing economy, and social justice. She is best known as a cofounder of Kiva, the world's first p2p microlending website. Kiva lets internet users lend as little as $25 to individual entrepreneurs, providing them affordable capital to start or expand a small business. Since its founding in October 2005 Kiva has facilitated over $1B in loans worldwide. Jessica teaches Social Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC. She is a Venture Partner with SparkLabs Global Ventures, as well as an investor and advisor with the Collaborative Fund. She also recently served as Walt Disney Imagineering's first Entrepreneur in Residence, focusing on projects related to corporate citizenship, the sharing economy, and happiness. She continues to provide expertise in these areas as an independent consultant on social impact initiatives and more. Earlier in her career, Jessica was a Cofounder and CEO of ProFounder, a pioneering crowdfunding platform for U.S. entrepreneurs. The company joined forces with GOOD Inc. in 2010 to create new tools and experiences for their community of creators. Jessica formerly served as a Visiting Practitioner at Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society, and also taught Entrepreneurial Design for Social Change at Drew University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a 2011 World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader, and serves as an active board member or advisor for several nonprofit organizations including Habitat for Humanity. She holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a certificate in Global Leadership and Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from Bucknell University, and honorary PhDs from Centenary College and Quinnipiac University. Jessica lives in Los Angeles with her husband, author Reza Aslan, and their three young sons.
Why LoA loves it….
There are those in the world who talk about social and business challenges, and those who do something to solve them. Jessica Jackley definitely falls into the second category and is one of life’s doers. As author Seth Godin said of her: “ She didn’t wait for permission to change the world—she just did it.” In her book Clay Water Brick, Jessica shares her philosophy on how to make an impact in the world of social entrepreneurship, providing not only great insights and a blueprint to follow, but also inspirational stories from the lives of those she touches. This is a great read for anyone who wants to make an impact in the world. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa