Meet our featured lender, Jacqueline Prester! Mrs. Prester is a business teacher and instructional technology specialist at Mansfield High School in Massachusetts. She’s been nationally recognized for her contributions to education in the areas of technology integration, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and STEM.
Mrs. Prester’s entrepreneurship class is very special to us because of its massive contributions to Kiva loans! Each year, high school students research different loan applications on Kiva.org and decide which loans to spend their class funds on. Read on to find out more about how Mrs. Prester is using Kiva in the classroom -- and what her students have to say about it!
Kiva: How long have you been teaching an entrepreneurship class?
Jacqueline Prester: I’ve been teaching Entrepreneurship for over 10 years. It originally started as a class that taught students how to develop a business plan. Soon after, I saw that students had a tough time grasping the concept of an abstract business. I applied for a grant that would provide seed money to my students to start small businesses in class. My students pitched product ideas, came together as a team to focus on one idea, produced products, created a marketing plan, became the sales force, and analyzed their finances. Part of our business model was always to make a charitable donation from our proceeds, to practice corporate responsibility and philanthropy. The students did so well in that first year that we donated the grant funds back to the organization that awarded our grant! It felt so good giving the funds back to the organization so it could help another teacher with another grant. It sparked an idea to make that a cornerstone of our project. My students would learn how to become entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Part of running a small business in my class would be for the students to select a local organization to receive the bulk of the proceeds.
Kiva: What gave you the idea to start using Kiva in your classroom?
Prester: I don’t remember where I first heard about Kiva. When I did, something just clicked! I knew it would be the perfect way to expand our impact globally. My students already made charitable donations locally. Kiva would give my students an opportunity to help entrepreneurs in other countries by lending a portion of their proceeds. It’s such a great concept and keeps the circle going! We continuously lend our credits and add to our loans each semester.
My experience with Kiva has been mind-opening. I loved knowing that doing what I loved, entrepreneurship, is helping to fund other people’s dreams around the world. -- Shreya Ahuja, junior
Kiva: How has Kiva helped you teach? What value does it add?
Prester: One of the questions I ask students is “Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?” Many students don’t realize the power they possess by having choices. They can choose to get a job or become an entrepreneur. In other countries, it’s not as easy as walking down the street and getting a job. Many become entrepreneurs out of necessity to support their families. There are no other options for them. Through Kiva, my students are learning more about business in other cultures and how we’ve become a global economy.
Kiva: What do the students think of Kiva?
Prester: The students love it! They love being able to help entrepreneurs who have fledgling, growing, or established businesses that are more complex than what they’re working on. They’re most often attracted to businesses in the agriculture, services, and retail sectors.
Kiva: How do you choose which loans to give to?
Prester: My students make all the decisions! They each scour the site looking for the one project that stands out. They tend to like projects with either small amounts left to fulfill, or short timeframes left to fund. Students then discuss and vote on which loan to fund. Each class can select a loan. Depending on what our finances look like, the amount of the loan will vary.
Kiva: What has been the most rewarding micro-loan you’ve all made to date?
Prester: They are all rewarding! I would say one of the most memorable was Madi in India. She needed a loan to purchase a buffalo that would expand her dairy business. My students were so excited to help fund a buffalo. A buffalo! That class unanimously decided on that project quickly. The concept of helping purchase a buffalo was so far out of their norm, it was surreal!
Find loans to support students here!