It all started
In the summer of 2014, when four high school students visited a rural Chinese town named DaGouYan in the Hui Muslim autonomous state of Ningxia. There, they discovered an impoverished, disadvantaged community that had a chance to thrive; the strong work ethics of the local populace alongside organic cows from Ningxia that were highly valued in wealthy coastal Chinese cities created a perfect product to build a business on.
The students developed a business plan, and after finding willing participants from the village, they fundraised several hundred thousand yuan and conducted a peer to peer loan. This loan helped create the town's first cow cooperative, with ten low-income families lifted out of poverty by the fourth year of operation, starting Nanoseed with the original intention of investing in livestock operations to alleviate poverty.
But as time passed
We realized that as a non-profit low-interest lending organization which seeks to help the most vulnerable and impoverished members of society, there existed too few opportunities for us to fund stable livestock operations. Thus, we redefined ourselves to be a peer-to-peer lending organization that helps minority entrepreneurs in rural China start businesses without falling into cycles of debt. We funded factories, and created we-chat stores that sold produce like the Goji shown below.
We could do better
We felt that low-interest business loans, although extremely important to breaking the cycle of poverty, required large amounts of capital every time and thus reduced the number of people we could be possibly helping. Once again, we underwent self-examination as we questioned ourselves what was the best way to help out our target audience, the disadvantaged in rural China, in order to break them out of cycles of poverty. We then decided that although business loans are useful in helping select low-income families with the right land, right experience, or right connections achieve prosperity, we wanted to find a way to make sure those hard-working without any other advantages can flourish as well.
Are the the most cost-effective way of breaking the cycle of poverty. For the children of poor and disadvantaged families, who many times choose to drop out of college or high school to provide for their families, our loans offer them an opportunity to continue their education. Thus, we entered into our current form as a high-school led non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating poverty in rural China through low-interest student and business loans. In exceptional cases, we also student scholarships to the most worthy and needy of students. Unlike other lending organizations, we not only determine our recipients based upon their financial history and grades, but also their aspirations, characteristics, and work ethics that we try to uncover through two rounds of in-person interviews with all applicants.
To fulfill our mission statement, we concluded a merger with a student organization named Sprout Potential that had previous experience and expertise in providing student loans. This action allowed us to exceed our projections, and permitted us to grant over twice as many loans as envisioned without suffering a single default in our first year of operation together from 2017 - 2018. Our success won us significant attention: in the summer of 2018, the YanBao Foundation, the second largest non-profit in China, decided to sponsor us, marking the first time they decided to support an organization beyond the state of Ningxia, China.
We hope to continue expanding our program, allowing us to expand outwards past Tongxin county so that we can aid even more people that are in need of help. Since a major source of our funding comes from school branches established around the nation that coordinates fundraising in their regions, which also help out disadvantaged people right here in America by volunteering at local nonprofits and providing lessons from music to coding to underprivileged children, we want to establish even more branches. We welcome you to join our initiative today.