Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Kiva expands to the U.S.

If you want to open a small business, are concerned about borrowing from a bank, and wonder how on Earth you can get some necessary capital outside of your friends and family circle, there is finally an answer. On June 10th, Kiva.org, the organization responsible for providing +$76,000,000 of microfinance to the developing world, has expanded their operations into the U.S. market.

In the Kiva model, would-be investors check out entrepreneurial endeavors looking for funding, make a loan to an entrepreneur they're interested in(for as little as $25), and the loan is paid back to the lender over time.

About 6 months ago, I decided to give Kiva a whirl and supported a woman starting a hair salon in Ghana. Every once in a while I go on-line and check out how she's doing. The $25 I gave, along with 14 other gifts of $25, meant the world to this woman. It's giving her and her family a shot at a better life. After making this loan, I did some checking around to see if a similar program existed in the U.S. To my knowledge Kiva.org is the only one organization making it easy for Americans to lend microloans to other Americans.

Maria Shriver, an ardent supporter of Kiva. org and leader of the Women’s Conference, said, "we all have the power to be Architects of Change in our own lives and in the lives of others. This partnership with Kiva.org is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to team up as a community and empower women entrepreneurs here in California and across the United States to start and sustain a small business, become more financially independent, and ultimately fulfill her dreams. By pooling our resources, a loan as small as $25 can change a life. Thanks to Kiva.org, being an Architect of Change has never been easier.”

After reading about this program, I also did a little poking around for other great opportunities to participate with Kiva.org. They have opened up their tools to allow outside developers to create Kiva apps. For example, an application called Kiva Heads allows users to browse loans on Facebook and gives you kudos on your Facebook page for the loans you make to Kiva while another app called Kiva World provides a live map of global Kiva loans in all phases and the ability to read more about the entrepreneurs with a single click any where on the map. Best of all, Kiva is working to create an app developer community on-line. Build you own app by visiting: build.kiva.org

There are now more ways that ever to do well by doing good and Kiva makes it easy for us to be a part of shaping the world as we'd like it to be, abroad and now within our own country, too.

2 comments:

Laura Cococcia said...

I just got a Kiva gift certificate from my boss as our Christmas gift - great way to share so much of what we have with others who are not as fortunate as us. So glad it's expanding to the U.S!

Christa said...

What an awesome gift to get from your boss! Speaks volumes about the philosophy of your company and the people it attracts.