La SemillaThe Seed Project
The Seed Project
The saying goes, “no one knows how many apples are in one seed.” This is so true when we think about multiplication. One seed bears a tree yet with an abundance of apples. It is with this idea that Sozo Charities engages with helping people around the world. La Semilla connects people with people by providing small business loans, mentorship, and coaching. Often successful business owners have a wealth of skills and resources to share with others. But they don’t know the needs of others. In the same way, developing small business owners need resources and skill improvement but don’t know where to look. La Semilla brings people together by building small business relationships.
The concept of people giving to people is as old as time. We at Sozo Charities embrace this concept of loving your neighbor in tangible ways. After communism collapsed in Eastern Europe, many were looking for ways to support themselves. Small business entrepreneurship was not common as the State had previously owned and controlled commerce. Yet many were willing to try if they only had a start-up seed.
Meet Anton (named changed).
He came to us asking for a loan of $600 which he needed to start a security-door business. He saw that apartments needed security and he could find the raw materials to install such doors. His goal was to borrow and give back in one year. Six months later Anton returned with the $600, excited and relieved to be able to pay back the money. His business is still operating today, 15+ years later.
The concept of small businesses has been around for centuries. It is often the backbone of a nation’s economy —people using their innate gifts and talents to make a living. Even though some national governments prohibit commerce, people will find ways to buy and sell goods.
La Semilla, Spanish for seed, is a micro loaning initiative that began in the Caribbean in 2019. Some friends around the dinner table birthed the concept to empower small businesses in a Caribbean country where start-up capital is challenging to find. La Semilla was implemented as three recipients were chosen based on previous relationships. $500 was given to boost what these individuals were struggling to do; create a sustainable small business. The microloans helped a photography and cosmetology service, launched a clothing line and Beatyfull ( social media podcast), and provided a grand opening for a home accessory and handbag shop. Yet there are many more who dream to obtain a seed for their small business.
What We Do
Sozo Charities journeys with aspiring small business people in developing countries around the world. These are usually people who have a direct relationship with our international Sozo team or who are referred to us by friends in those countries. An application is processed and a business mentor is matched with the borrower. This is to ensure that their small business concept is attainable and achieved.
Volunteer to help guide, mentor, and coach the small business owner. This can be done virtually or in-country. Translators are provided as volunteers help bring their expertise in business.
Submit your email below if you would like to become a La Semilla volunteer.