Best practices to help guarantee your success.

It’s extremely important that you take the time to read the six key factors in a high quality loan application.  In our review process we give priority to borrowers who have met the guidelines outlined below. 


1) Loan Amount

You are able to select the loan amount and repayment term -- up to $10,000, paid back up to three years. 

Before you jump in and apply for $10,000, however, there are a few things to consider:

Our team has the ability to determine the loan amount you will qualify for. Many factors are taken into account when determining this number, as Kiva considers both the risk and social impact of the loans we offer. The following range should be used as guidelines for what to expect.            

You have a business idea - up to $1,000
You have been in operation for less than 90 days - $2,500 - $5,000
You are in operation and generating revenue - $5,000 to $10,000

Please note this is just a guideline: The loan amount you qualify for could be increased or reduced based on other factors in your loan application.

Be thoughtful about the loan amount you’ll be requesting! If you have a higher loan request, you will be asked to invite more lenders from your personal network and you will have to put more effort into the fundraising process.  More about the fundraising process here.  


2) photo

The photo is the most important part of your application, it’s the first thing lenders look at when deciding who to make a loan to.  Borrowers with poor photos fundraise slowly.  The following list outlines our requirements to approve your loan:

  • You MUST be in your photo
  • We do not allow headshots or logos
  • Make sure lenders will know what your business is in your photo
  • Horizontal orientation
  • Clear and bright photos are best

Check out some great photos here!


3) Personal story

This is where the lenders get to know you. Use two paragraphs to give lenders background on your story and your goals. Help them understand what has shaped you and led you to start this business.

You can think about these questions to help write your story: 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? For more ideas, check out these examples.


4) Business Description

This section should be two paragraphs.  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.  

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.  


5) Loan USE

This should include a specific breakdown of how you will use the loan and how that will make an impact for your business.  How will it impact your ability to grow and be more successful?  The more specific the better -- lenders want to know how their loan is going to be put to use. 


6) Social Media

Please make sure to add any and all social media links that are associated with your business. Think beyond Facebook and Twitter, include your Yelp page, your Instagram handle, your Etsy store. We use these links to  verify your business exists, so make sure the links work!

Double check that your email and phone number are accurate.  We speak with every borrower on the phone before we post your loan.  We give priority to borrowers who are highly responsive.  


If you have any questions, please contact us at We’ll make sure a human gets in touch with you!