OneSeed Expeditions organize trekking holidays in South Asia, investing 10 percent of revenue with a microfinance partner to help local female entrepreneurs.
The eco-tourism trend continues to sprout new and innovative ideas that satisfy both the adventurous tourist while also benefiting the local environment. Taking the concept further, OneSeed Expeditions in the US organize trekking holidays in South Asia, with 10 percent of revenue going to a microfinance partner to invest in local female entrepreneurs. Social start up OneSeed Expeditions was founded by US public school teacher Chris Baker, along with trekking guide Bishnu Thapa, and researcher Tek Bahadur Dong in Nepal, with the aim of empowering travelers to make a real positive impact in the places they explore. The OneSeed Fund invests 10 percent of revenue in local microfinance banks — such as BWP Nepal — to help women with low interest capital to start or better their small business. Why women specifically? The premise of The Girl Effect is that empowering women with professional, skill and literacy training, will have a positive impact on their families and consequently the wider-community. Explaining the concept Baker says, “We take an existing revenue stream — in this case adventure travel — and utilize it to extend financial services to entrepreneurs in need of capital. You trek to base camp. A local woman launches or expands her business.” Starting at USD 1,500, the expeditions are planned from February 2012 in the Khumbu, Annapurna and Langtang regions of Nepal, with options for group or individual travel. OneSeed Expeditions stresses its commitment to sustainability, with policies on waste, eco-system preservation, culture and supply chain management, and partnering with the local communities so that tourism revenue goes directly to guides and porters and local entrepreneurs. With defined and measurable goals, targets and actions, OneSeed Expeditions hope to monitor the impact the initiative has. Consumers have long been able to get involved in microfinance initiatives, but the opportunity to fund these efforts through adventure tours will offer a new incentive to those who want to make a sustainable contribution to development efforts. Spotted by: Alice Revel