Best practices to help guarantee your success.
It’s extremely important that you take the time to read the key factors in a high quality loan application. In our review process we give priority to borrowers who have met the guidelines outlined below.
Determine whether you meet the minimum eligibility requirements.
Gather your basic financial information.
Kiva does not just judge your loan on just your credit history, but we do need some financial information, usually a State Filing, an Employer Identification Number (EIN), or a business number.
have a business plan.
A detailed, forward thinking business plan will make your company and loan application stronger. The Centro Business Planning App is a great free business planning app run by a Kiva Trustee. You should also start thinking about how you will repay a loan if you are approved. For more about the repayment plan, click here.
determine what Loan Amount you are applying for.
Kiva loans up to $10,000 to be paid back over 3 years, but there are several factors that Kiva considers before deciding how much a borrower qualifies for, such as industry risk, length of operations, and the quality of application. Keep in mind that the higher the loan amount, the more lenders you will need to onboard during your Private Fundraising Phase.
Please note that these guidelines are subject to change and that the loan amount you qualify for could be increased or reduced based on other criteria in your loan application.
The Kiva U.S. Operations team has the ability to determine final loan amount, and consider both the risk and the social impact of the loans we offer and the businesses we support. Our underwriting process takes into account numerous criteria in order for us to determine the health of your business and how much debt we believe you are able to take on based on the financial information you provide.
Put some thought into your loan profile photo.
Your photo is vital. It is the first thing lenders will see, and many lenders will use it to decide whether or not they want to learn more about you. We’ve noticed that loan pages with poor photos fundraise far more slowly than profiles with excellent photos. We require that both you and your business appear in your photograph, and we do NOT allow selfies, headshots, logos, or photoshopped images. We only approve loans that have photos in horizontal orientation.
write your Personal story.
At Kiva, we emphasize the personal side of businesses and borrowers. For that reason, we ask for a personal story so that we and the lenders can get to know you. This section should be about 2 paragraphs and show who you are as a person and why you are passionate about what you are doing. Talk about your interests, what motivates you, and what has shaped you as a person. Highlight your future goals and dreams, what led you to start this business, and your entrepreneurial spirit and determination. Don’t be impersonal or too formal. Try to add some flair, and tell us how you and your business are unique and interesting!
To help you get started: Where did you grow up? What was it like? Is there an instance from the past that demonstrates your entrepreneurial spirit? Where are you today? What are your dreams for the future, both personal and professional?
provide a Business Description.
Here is where you tell lenders about your business. This should be about 2 paragraphs. The more information you give lenders, the more interested and invested they will be. Be specific! Give your lenders an understanding of why you started this business and what your business does. Be personal and talk to the core of what your business represents — to you and your community. Explain what your business does, why it was founded, who your clientele is, how your business is run, what your business represents, day to day operations, future goals, and any awards or accomplishments your business has earned. This section should also be personal! Don’t be too formal. Let your passion and excitement show.
You can use these questions below for direction: What about your business are you most proud of? What are the goals you have for your business in the future? Who are your customers? What are your biggest challenges? How will Kiva support the growth of your business? For some examples, check out these descriptions.
purpose of your loan.
We and the lenders need to hear why you need the money and what you plan to do with it. How will it help you grow? The more specific you can be, the better.
You need two different versions of this. A 1-2 sentences summation to go at the top of the loan’s page, and a 1-2 paragraph expansion under the description of your business. Both should be clear and understandable and communicate the general and long-term effects of the loan. Use a clear number break down to show as much specificity as possible.
link your Social Media accounts.
Add any and all social media links your company has, including a link to your business’s website if it has one. A website and/or multiple social media sites show lenders you are a strong investment. They’re also a great opportunity for lenders to learn more about you and your business and convert to customers.
Begin gathering a support network and fundraising.
If approved, your loan will go through the Private Fundraising Period, and you will need to find people in your network, friends, family, community members, etc, to lend to you. It is always good to think ahead and start talking to people early. It also gives you practice articulating your business and needs. For suggestions on fundraising, click here.
Lend to another Kiva U.S. borrower.
It’s a great way to see how the process works from the lender side, and you can look at how other approved profiles are set up and get ideas for your own. Click here to see the loans that are currently funding.
Be responsive to Kiva.
The Kiva team will need to contact you several times during the loan approval process. Borrowers who respond quickly to Kiva’s emails and calls are prioritized and make your approval process faster.
For examples of great loan profiles, click here.
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll make sure a human gets in touch with you!