Microfinance charity Deki launches partnership for Bristol businesses to help lift more people out of poverty

February 20, 2015

Deki, the pioneering Bristol microfinance charity, has officially launched its Bristol Businesses Against Poverty partnership with a plea to local firms to help it fight poverty in Africa.

Since it was set up in 2008 by UWE undergraduate Vashti Seth, pictured, Deki has lent more than £450,000 to entrepreneurs in developing nations where loans would traditionally be inaccessible to them.

These loans have helped launch around 2,500 businesses which in turn have improved the lives of an estimated 10,000 people living in some of the world’s poorest countries such as South Sudan, Malawi and Ghana.

The charity was launched by Vashti with £2,000 left to her by her late father with a wish that she should “do something good” with it.

Vashti now has ambitions for Stokes Croft-based Deki to help even more people with microloans through its Bristol Businesses Against Poverty project.

By partnering with the charity through payroll giving, staff development, joint marketing projects and other initiatives, Bristol businesses can help Deki reach its target of  providing another 7,000 loans over the next three years, helping change the lives of a further 35,000 people.

Vashti told the Bristol Businesses Against Poverty launch, held at the Victoria Street branch of Bristol café chain Friska – a long-term Deki supporter – that it was up to businesses how they helped the charity.

Ocean Estate Agents is donating money for every house it sells or lets and is promoting Deki in its branches and marketing material.

Waste management firm Ecosurety staged a Deki Tenner Tournament with teams of staff given £10 to develop their own business which raised £3,000. Friska raises money through its special Deki Dishes.

Other firms backing Bristol Businesses Against Poverty include Simpleweb, Paradigm Norton and Bristol Business News.

The launch was attended by Lord Mayor of Bristol Alastair Watson, Bristol West MP and communities minister Stephen Williams, and UWE vice-chancellor Steve West, who reminded Vashti that it was the university that gave Deki its first loan seven years ago and has closely followed her progress since.

“Vashti is great – we use her as a role model to young people,” he said. “The idea behind Deki is really powerful but really simple and for us at UWE it supports what we stand for as a university.

“In fact, we are so proud of Vashti at UWE that last year we awarded her an honorary degree – the first former UWE student to receive one.”

Deki’s crowdfunding website deki.org.uk offers long-term solutions to poverty by giving entrepreneurs in the developing world access to small loans and business training.

A Deki loan – which can be as little as £10 – allows an entrepreneur to build a profitable business, providing them with a steady source of income. They are then able to secure their own futures, send their children to school for longer and employ people in their local community.

To find our more or donate go to www.deki.org.uk

Pictured: Vashti with Stephen Williams MP, Steve West of UWE and Lord Mayor Alastair Watson with a photo that will be hung in Business West HQ at Leigh Court. Photos by Beth Harbord


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