WASHINGTON, January 20, 2013 – KIVA.org is partnering with Capital One Bank to bring micro lending to small business entrepreneurs in Washington, D.C. The concept of micro lending is familiar on a global scale, however Kiva responded to the challenge to “do something” locally.
“We started KIVA in Uganda in 2005,” Matt Flannery, Kiva.org says. “In the last few years, people began asking “why don’t you do this in my neighborhood?”
Kiva.org and Capital One were in D.C. this past Tuesday announcing their partnership; a partnership designed to positively impact small business entrepreneurs in the metro area.
Though the groups are working with the Latino Economic Development Center to help identify small business creators through funding loans and business growth opportunities, funding opportunities are not limited to Latinos and all businesses owners and entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply via the website.
“If one in three of the small businesses in the US were able to hire just one more person, we would not have the unemployment that we have; our efforts in the US are to help rebuild the small business backbone,” says Flannery. “In D.C. there are some eight thousand small businesses that employ around ninety thousand people, each business creating an average of one million dollars in sales.”
KIVA.org’s earliest efforts where in alleviating poverty in developing nations by making small loans to farmers, loans that allowed those farmers to purchase equipment, land, live or plant stock or build structures necessary to find independence
With the loans, most less than ten thousand, many far less than $2,000, Kiva helps communities grow by helping individuals find financial independence.
Kiva works due to the awareness and kindness of many. An individual looks at the Kiva web site reviewing the stories of individuals and groups that are seeking funding assistance.
Reading through the funding requests, they are simple, and reasonable. They are also life changing.
Nigora, of Tajikistan is asking for a loan of $650.00 in order to purchase a sewing machine. Her “story” information says that Nigora is 31 year old, married and that she has five-year-old son. “She comes from a good family and is a conscientious and honest woman.”
Nigora started her sewing business but would like to expand in order to better care for her son. Your donation of $25 will be combined with donations from Jeanene in Australia, Kathy from Portland and Stephen from Brooklyn.
When the requested loan amount of $650.00 US, is reached, the money is lent to Nigora who is then able to purchase the machine, increase her business, and pay the loan back.
The individual lenders can then choose to reinvest their money or withdraw it.
The average loan in the US is between five and ten thousand dollars. Borrowers are expected to pay loans back, however the group arranges for the absolutely lowest possible interest rates.
Abelardo, Abero Construction Company of Maryland, is working with Kiva City D.C. via the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) a non-profit group that “builds sustainable economic communities through business, house and human resource development n low-to-moderate income neighborhoods with significant Latino populations in Washington, D.C.”
In addition to connecting individuals to loan funding, the group also provides technical assistance and business development training while also assisting Abelardo raise the funds he needs to run and grow his business.
Helping Abelardo, and others in the D.C. area, Capital One Bank is assisting in the efforts of Kiva City D.C. and the LEDC by matching donations up to $150,000 and the gifting of a $100,000 grant to support the launch of the D.C. effort.
“Kiva and Kiva City D.C. is part and parcel a perfect partner for our community development programs,” Daniel Delehanty, senior director of Community Development says. “The power of bringing the Kiva lending platform to our efforts in D.C. literally reinvents the role of the bank.”
For Capital One Bank being able to invest in small businesses makes sense on many levels. In 2012 the bank supported numerous small businesses, over 2/3 of which were woman and minority businesses, providing some $6.6 million in grants, loans and investments to over one hundred non profits promoting micro enterprise development.
Working with Kiva and the LEDC they are able to drive the concept of lending to help young entrepreneurs “get closer to filing their business dreams.”
The first domestic investment partnerships were in New Orleans where Kiva New Orleans has facilitated around thirty-thousand dollars in loans, working with the local Good Work Network and the ASI Federal Credit Union, to support start up construction businesses, local restaurants and catering.
All businesses that could come from outside into New Orleans, but instead, by supporting locally owned and operated businesses, those businesses are helping in the economic and social rebuilding of a post Katrina New Orleans.
“One of my favorite stories out of New Orleans is Troy Rollins,” Flannery says. “He began installing solar panels in a post Katrina economy and now he is winning contracts, keeping the work and the workers local.”
One hundred and sixty five persons invested in Troy Rollins enabling the $10k loan that funded the start of his solar panel business, now a thriving business and employer.
Supporting Kiva.org businesses is not only a positive step for individuals, but could also be an incredible classroom project and life learning experiences for youth. Investment loans from individuals are usually not more than $25.00, but as you can see, a lot of little, adds up to a lot of good.
Kiva is a non-profit organization working to alleviate poverty by connecting people around the world through microlending. With as little as a $25 loan, anyone can help a borrower create new opportunities for themselves and their family. Together with more than 870,000 Kiva lenders and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva has created economic opportunity for more than 950,000 borrowers. Since its inception in 2005, Kiva lenders have funded more than $390 million in loans with a 98.9% repayment rate. Visit www.kiva.org for more information.
About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, is a Fortune 500 company with approximately 1,000 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Its subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. We apply the same principles of innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. We recognize that helping to build strong and healthy communities – good places to work, good places to do business and good places to raise families – benefits us all and we are proud to support this and other community initiatives.
About Latino Economic Development Center
Working families deserve to live in affordable homes and own successful small businesses – but too many are unable to turn these dreams into a reality. The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) equips Latinos and other DC-area residents with the skills and financial tools to create a better future for their families and communities. Participants in our programs learn how to buy and stay in their homes, take control of the decisions affecting their apartment buildings, and start or expand small businesses. Last month, LEDC launched the Community Asset Fund for Entrepreneurs to equip entrepreneurs in the DC-area with the capital to improve their lives and strengthen the small business community. To learn more, visit http://www.ledcmetro.org.
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