Over the last 4 years, Kiva.org has been helping micro-finance poor entrepreneurs across 44 impoverished countries. Now the company will be providing micro-financing to small U.S. businesses. Kiva.org services will become available in about 45 different businesses in the U.S.
Originally Kiva wasn’t planning on focusing on U.S. businesses, but due to banks feeling higher pressure in investing the company had to reconsider. Kiva’s investments in entrepreneurs abroad relies mostly on “crowd-funding.” People log in to Kiva and invest money in increments of $25 loans to people that submit business plans. The money is pooled together and end up amounting to thousands or millions of dollars.
Kiva has raised over $75 million from about 500,000 people and invested in 180,000 entrepreneurs across 44 countries. Around 98% of the loans have been paid back in time according to Kiva President Premal Shah.
“It will be interesting to see if someone from South Central Los Angeles will be able to get a loan on our site more quickly than a small business in south Sudan,” stated Shah.