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Kiva micro loans empower Detroiters to grow their businesses, you can help for as little as $25


Detroit is a Kiva City. That’s great news. That program provides micro loans to small businesses.

Kiva lets individuals, like you, lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Remember. It is a loan. You’ll get your money back.

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Called Kiva Zip, it now has the support of the Knight Foundation to help turn those economic seeds into trees through a pilot program that runs from October through December 2015. The program includes including informational webinars and community outreach panels and a Celebrate Kiva Zip in Detroit event on November 12. It starts at 6:00 pm at the Build Institute, 2701 Bagley Avenue in Detroit. You’ll be able to eat and drink while listening to stories from past borrowers, learn how to be a lender, borrower, and trustee, plus register to lend your first $25.

For more information, click here.

Kiva Zip, a U.S. and Kenya based program of Kiva, is a peer-to-peer lending platform that allows small business owners to crowdfund 0% interest loans up to $5,000 from people all over the world. This peer-to-peer lending platform asks friends and family of the business owner to start the fundraising. Once a designated threshold is reached the Kiva Zip community does the reset. An entrepreneurs’ network is used to make sure those who ask for the loan are creditworthy.

Here are some Detroit entrepreneurs who grew their companies because of Kiva.

Caitlyn Pisarski

Caitlyn Pisarski

Caitlyn Pisarski founded Motor City Soap Company in 2012 after attending a soap making workshop. She is also a part-time English language instructor in Southwest Detroit, a few blocks away from her soap studio is located on Vernor in Hubbard Farms.

Motor City Soap Company makes handmade vegan soaps, lip balms and sugar scrubs. The soaps are inspired by working people and are named after occupations like The Farmer, The Mechanic and The Nurse.

Bryant & Kummbareh Owens

Bryant & Kummbareh Owens

Bryant and Kummbareh Owens are co-founders of EverButter LLC which specializes in formulating, manufacturing, and selling all natural hair & body products, as well as conducts natural hair coaching and hair schooling seminars. The company focuses on helping women build and strengthen relationships by learning how to take care of their natural hair.

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith’s Detroit Maid helps residential and commercial Detroiters with their cleaning needs including vacancy cleaning, green cleaning, regular maintenance and more.  This business is focused on celebrating Detroit by giving them a quality cleaning service.  Quite a rise for something born from just two team members, Smith’s fatigue from a Lansing commute, and frustration with cleaning groups not willing to cross 8 Mile.

Kiva Zip was brought to Detroit in 2011 by the nonprofit Michigan Corps, with matching loan support from The Knight Foundation. The Build Institute (Build), a strategic program of Downtown Detroit Partnership, was there in the beginning as well, and with 13 loans that total $15,000, it is the region’s most active trustee.

Kiva transferred to Build in May 2105 and its Director of Programming Jessica Meyer began to manage all loan applications in Southeast Michigan.

Earlier this year the Knight Foundation pledged to continue to match loans through 2018. More loan matches will come as Build and ProsperUS Detroit has partnered with Local initiative Support Corporation (LISC) to endorse as a trustee for some Kiva Zip borrowers.

“It can be very difficult to get enough capital for your business, especially in underserved and disinvested in cities,” says Meyer. “We love using the Kiva Zip platform for our graduates because it focuses more on your character rather than your credit, unlike traditional banks. We’re excited to see the impact of this pilot grant and LISC’s partnership so the Kiva Zip program can continue to support Detroit’s entrepreneurs.”

Since Kiva was founded in 2005 it has:

  • 1,349,730 Kiva lenders
  • $776,350,100 in loans
  • 98.46% repayment rate

Kiva works with:

  • 303 Field Partners
  • 450 volunteers around the world
  • 83 different countries

Since 2011, $256,000 has been raised for more than 60 loans in Michigan with the majority coming from metro Detroit, Flint and Ann Arbor. In the city of Detroit, there has been $148,500 for more than 37 loans funded.

There is no doubt that while the loans may start micro, the effect on personal levels are not.

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12 comments on “Kiva micro loans empower Detroiters to grow their businesses, you can help for as little as $25

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  2. as well as conducts natural hair coaching and hair schooling seminars. The company focuses on helping women build and strengthen relationships by learning how to take care of their natural hair,Great,thank you so much for this tips

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  3. That is kind of interesting initiative. I like it. Thanks for sharing. Any small business can grow if it has good funding and good working business plan. Banks and financial institutes are the great source for the small businesses to get the small business loans so that they can grow their business.

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