“Thanks to Kiva I found focus and direction that allowed me to support my big business ‘pie in the sky’ dream. Now my dream of 12 years is becoming a reality!”
— $10,000 Kiva loan recipient, Rochester, N.Y.

Borrowers use Kiva loans for projects such as renovations, purchasing pieces of equipment or moving into store fronts. These loans are crowdfunded $25 at a time by individual lenders on the Kiva online platform. The organization provides crowdfunded business loans of $1,000 to $10,000 with no interest and fees.

So what’s so special about a Kiva loan? These loans have no minimum credit score or collateral requirements. Kiva’s underwriting uses a sort of “social credit check” to make financing a loan possible, even with poor or no prior credit history. Rather than focusing on financials, Kiva also looks at business impact and community support.

Kiva is an ideal partner for the city in supporting small businesses. The partnership between Kiva and the city of Rochester launched in August 2016. Since then, Kiva Rochester has supported several entrepreneurs, some of whom are musicians, makers, yoga instructors, birth doulas, and others who run restaurants and own clothing lines. Some businesses have been startups, while some have been established for years. Each business owner shares an entrepreneurial spirit and a dream to take their business to the next level. A dream that their Kiva loan has been able to support.

To date, 53 small-business owners have received more than $250,000 in capital through Kiva loans in Rochester. Half of those loan recipients have been women owned businesses, and more than 70 percent have been minority-owned businesses.

This is all made possible by Kiva’s innovative crowdfunding platform. More than1 million individuals are signed up as lenders on Kiva and lend $25 or more to entrepreneurs they want to support. Thanks to Kiva, lenders can see exactly how their small investment benefits a business and the community.

If you would like to sign up to be a Kiva lender, visit www.Kiva.org/lend.

If you’re interested in learning more or getting involved with Kiva Rochester, you can visit www.CityofRochester.gov/kiva or email the Kiva Rochester team at KivaRochester@CityofRochester.gov.

Angela Rollins is the assistant program coordinator for Kiva Rochester.