NEW YORK, Dec. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Kiva.org, the leading global microlending nonprofit, announced the launch of Kiva NYC, a new multi-year initiative to help level the playing field for lower-income small business owners in New York City. The program will bring 0% interest crowdfunded loans to hundreds of New York City small business owners who are socially impactful and financially excluded from mainstream lending options.
The launch was celebrated last night at a special small business marketplace event in New York City featuring Kiva President and Co-Founder Premal Shah, Kiva borrowers and former President Bill Clinton. "The world needs two things more than anything else. It needs positive identity, the belief that our common humanity matters more than our differences. And it needs a system of inclusive universal empowerment so that we can live and prosper together, raise our children together, and have an entirely different future than what dominates most of the headlines today," said former President Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Foundation. "That's why Kiva in the United States is so important."
Kiva NYC is part of Kiva's effort to expand risk-tolerant and patient capital from city to city across the U.S. that was announced as a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action in 2011. Since, then twelve other Kiva City programs have launched and Kiva loans are crowdfunding in 47 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.
Recently marking its 10 year anniversary, Kiva has provided crowdfunded loans to support more than 1.7 million entrepreneurs globally. After a successful roll-out of the community-based platform Kiva Zip, in select cities, Kiva is broadening its reach across the United States through a new social underwriting loan model, reinserting the idea of "character into credit" and giving business owners who may not qualify for traditional loans access to needed capital.
Kiva's new "social underwriting" model differs from conventional small business lenders: a borrower's credit-worthiness is based on one's ability to recruit friends and family to fund a small portion of their loan, demonstrating trust among the people who know them best. Kiva does not require a minimum FICO score, collateral, or a minimum operations period for the business – which is unique compared to most non-profit U.S. microlenders. More than 90 percent of loan requests on Kiva are fully funded.
Kiva NYC represents a dramatic expansion of Kiva's work in the New York City area. Kiva has already connected thousands of small dollar lenders to nearly 250 local entrepreneurs from every borough, including businesses owned by immigrants, neighborhood shops working to stay in their community, and businesses founded to support local food ecosystems and local emerging artists.
"New York's small businesses are the heart of this city. They bring color and vibrancy to the neighborhoods, create quality jobs, and enrich the cultural fabric of this city," said Premal Shah, President of Kiva.org. "They have the passion and the plan, but often they lack just a small amount of capital to start or expand. Through this initiative, we can all be a part of their success."
Visitors to kiva.org/NYC can choose the entrepreneur they want to help crowdfund with a loan of $25 or more. Every dollar lent to a small business owner in NYC will be matched up to $1.1 million thanks to generous donors including the MetLife Foundation, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and others. Individual loan requests average $5,000 and are offered at 0% interest and no fees. As the entrepreneur repays, lenders can relend to another person on Kiva.org/NYC or withdraw their money and put it back in their pocket.
Kiva NYC is made possible by generous supporters including the lead sponsor, MetLife Foundation. Supporters include Pershing Square Innovation Labs, The Moody's Foundation, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, and Surdna Foundation, with generous in-kind support from PayPal.
To become a lender or a borrower visit www.Kiva.org/NYC.
Kiva.org is the world's first and largest crowdfunding platform for social good with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. With as little as a $25 loan, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy and realize their potential. Since 2005, Kiva and their growing global community of 1.4 million lenders have crowdfunded over $750 million in microloans to nearly 1.7 million entrepreneurs in 80 countries, with a 98% repayment rate. For more information, visit www.kiva.org and www.KivaZip.org