Banks are no longer interested in loaning money to people or small businesses, since that traditional practice no longer makes them huge sums of money. It’s why Kickstarter and Kiva have blossomed in the last few years. Now, Starbucks, of all places, is starting a program to help their customers lend money to small businesses.
Here’s the idea they came up with: Americans themselves would start lending to small businesses, with Starbucks serving as the middleman. Starbucks would find financial institutions willing to loan to small businesses. Starbucks customers would be able to donate money to the effort when they bought their coffee. Those who gave $5 or more would get a red-white-and-blue wristband, which Schultz labeled “Indivisible.” “We are hoping it will bring back pride in the American dream,” he says. The tag line will read: “Americans Helping Americans.”
So, just to be clear: a major American coffee company is jumping into the fray to lend money to help others start small businesses. This seems like such a crazy, outside the box idea, but a potentially huge one given how many Starbucks locations there are and how many daily customers they have. [via kottke]