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A Mobile Game That Enables Real-World Microlending Seeds, a free mobile game, lets players build a virtual civilization while microfinancing women entrepreneurs in Kenya.

By Michelle Goodman

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Rachel Cook was working as a futures trader when she had a revelation: Making money is great, but helping others do so is better. After reading an article on how microloans can benefit businesswomen in the developing world, she set out to direct and produce The Microlending Film Project, a documentary that took her to four continents.

With the film showing at dozens of U.S. college campuses this year, Cook is now knee-deep in her next project: Seeds, a free mobile game that lets players build a virtual civilization while microfinancing women entrepreneurs in Kenya.

Marketed as "FarmVille meets Kiva," Seeds makes money by selling virtual goods and currency and by incentivizing players with in-game rewards to make microloans to businesses of their choosing. The money is disbursed to entrepreneurs who were vetted by Cook and her team last year on the ground in Kenya.