At Kiva, we're reinserting human relationships into our financial system.

Kiva is a crowdlending platform that offers 0% interest loans between $1,000 and $10,000 to U.S. business owners. We do this because we believe that, while dreams are created equal, opportunity is not. There are small business owners out there that are credit-worthy and need access to capital - but wouldn’t qualify for traditional forms of financing. The Kiva US loan is a chance for entrepreneurs to prove themselves and grow their businesses. 


Established in 2005 as the world's first personal micro-lending website, Kiva enables everyday people to pool lending contributions as little as $25 to provide financial access to entrepreneurs in developing communities across the globe. Since its beginning, serving loans to a handful of fishmongers in eastern Uganda, Kiva has grown to enable over 1.7M lenders worldwide to lend a combined $1.2B to more than 2.6M entrepreneurs in 89 countries around the world. 

Kiva has been able to reach this global scale while still maintaining a 97% repayment rate. Kiva's success has garnered worldwide recognition and accolades. In 2008, Kiva was named a TIME magazine Top 50 website. In 2011, The Economist honored Kiva with their Innovation Award. 

After the success of the international model, Kiva recognized the need to tackle financial exclusion by supporting local entrepreneurs in the U.S. and started the Kiva U.S. program in 2011, originally named “Kiva Zip”. Entrepreneurs apply directly to Kiva’s U.S. site to fundraise on the platform and are connected to millions of Kiva lenders. It also enables local lenders to make direct loans, as little as $25 to entrepreneurs in their neighborhoods. Since its beginning, Kiva U.S. has facilitated the crowdfunding of $29 Million from 230,000 Lenders to 5,500 Borrowers.

The Kiva U.S. Program has two primary objectives:

  1. Increase access to capital for small business owners who might not otherwise be served by traditional financial institutions

  2. Connect Kiva's 1.7 Million lenders and inspire more local lenders to support borrowers

WHY DO WE LEND TO SMALL BUSINESSES?

Small businesses are the primary employers in the United States, putting about 60 million Americans to work. Yet accessing small business capital, a vital component of business creation and growth, has become a near-impossible hurdle for many entrepreneurs. Small business owners face dwindling opportunities to access capital, with community banking down 50% over the past decade and 80% of small businesses unable to obtain bank loans. Kiva calls this the “missing micro”.

Kiva meets these challenges by filling a gap in funding through it’s simple, easy-to-use tech platform that supports crowd-sourced loans, Kiva is revolutionizing the availability and accessibility of capital and fostering community support for entrepreneurs in the U.S.


Rethinking creditworthiness.

Kiva uses social underwriting to determine the creditworthiness of a borrower.  We will never reject an entrepreneur because of their credit, net worth, or years in business. We believe that creditworthiness can be established by evaluating your character and reputation. To learn more about Kiva’s innovative approach of social underwriting, click here.


Overview of the Kiva loan process.

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Application | Filling out the application can take about 30 minutes. You will be asked basic financial questions about your business as well as your household income and debts.  To get a sense of how Kiva reviews applications and to see if you are eligible, click here.

Want to know more about applying? Click here.

Review | In addition to a financial assessment, we use a process called social underwriting to assess a loan applicant.. Banks and other financial institutions often use a data-based system, only examining credit score, cash flow, and collateral. With social underwriting, we examine financial information as well as a more personal, character-based indicators  in our analysis.  

Want to know more about review? Click here.

Fundraising | Kiva is a crowdfunding platform where 1.5 billion socially driven lenders support entrepreneurs dreams. In addition to tapping into Kiva’s network of lenders,  US borrowers leverage their personal networks to fund their campaigns

Want to know more about fundraising? Click here.

Repayments | Kiva loan repayments begin one month after a loan gets disbursed. The monthly payment amount is simple — the total value of the loan divided by the monthly term. All payments are processed through PayPal. Every time you make a payment on your loan the money is distributed proportionally to all your lenders.

Want to learn more about repayment? Click here.

What’s Next? | After you have succeeded in fully fundraising and repaying your Kiva loan, you are welcome to reapply for another, larger loan or you can move up the capital access ladder to another financial institution and bring the record of your loan repayment with you.

Want to know more about potential next steps after your Kiva graduation? Click here.

 
Kiva was a simple and straightforward process. It wasn’t just a bank. We were able to put faces to those supporting us.
— Sally & Nadia Night Owl Market, Cincinnati, OH
Since we got our Kiva loan, our sales have increased by 15% each year. Our loan helped jump start our operations.
— Marci & Greg Miller Deep Root Farm, Moscow, ID
 

 Have questions about the Kiva program? Email us at borrowers@kiva.org.