Kiva City aims to spur job growth and economic recovery by connecting Kiva’s global network of 592,000 individual lenders with the owners of small businesses throughout the country. With very few microfinance institutions operating at scale in the U.S., Kiva City helps address this challenge by tapping the power of local communities to come together and bring Kiva to their city, particularly those whose small business communities have been most impacted by the recent economic downturn. According to a new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by Kiva and Visa, 20 of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas have lost at least one percent of their small businesses from 2006 to 2008. This represents approximately 15,000 businesses.
The program launches today in Detroit, one of the most economically impacted cities in the U.S.
The Kiva City program launches today in Detroit, which ranked fifth in the study’s list of the top U.S. small business trouble spots. The microloans, made possible through Kiva’s lending partnership with microlender ACCION USA, a member of the ACCION Network in the U.S., will offer Detroit area small businesses an additional option for accessing capital that can be used to fund operations, ranging from purchasing equipment and paying rent, to hiring and retaining employees, to offering promotions.
The Kiva City program leverages Kiva’s online microlending capabilities.
The new program extends Kiva’s Internet-based lending model to underserved communities throughout the country–even where microfinance institutions have yet to establish local branches. Working in concert with Kiva and microlending partners, communities join forces and commit the resources to conduct on-the-ground outreach to small business owners to support the three components of microlending: sourcing the businesses to apply for microloans, administering the loans and funding the loans. The average size of Kiva’s field partner loans in the U.S. is $7,000.
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