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Kiva to Launch in the United States

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I recently wrote a blog post about Kiva and all the good it is doing worldwide.

As you may recall, Kiva is "the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world."  Specifically, on their website, individuals who need small loans to start or grow their businesses request funding. And, other individuals from around the world offer this funding in increments as low as $25. To date, nearly 500,000 users have lent almost $65 million, interest-free, to developing-world entrepreneurs through Kiva.org.  $3.5 million was distributed last month alone.

Not surprisingly, since the majority of you are based here in the United States, in response to my email about Kiva I received lots of emails saying that Kiva should launch in the United States. I agreed.

And now, a few weeks later, Fortune Magazine is reporting that Kiva plans to launch in the United States within a few months. This could be a HUGE funding opportunity for American entrepreneurs!

Importantly, while the highest loan amount for entrepreneurs in the developing world is $1200, in the United States, it will be $10,000. One issue that hasn't been fully resolved is vetting. In the developing world, Kiva "uses microfinance institution partners to vet entrepreneurs before allowing them to solicit funding. By asking a series of questions to assess roots in the community and the legitimacy of a business, Kiva is able to establish a risk profile for each entrepreneur. Before offering money to, say, the proprietor of a Dominican fruit stand, any lender can read the entrepreneur¹s profile, history of defaults, and a bit about the business."

In the United States, Kiva says that they are "signing on microfinance partners in the Bay Area and in the Northeast," but have not released who these partners will be or how the vetting process will work.

In any case, this is GREAT news for American entrepreneurs.

You can read the full Fortune article here.

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Janie Johns says

40billion.com launched for American entrepreneurs last year, and it is a micro-funding website just for entrepreneurs to raise money for small businesses. Seems like Kiva is following what 40billion.com has already done.
Posted at 5:16 pm
Mika says

BTW, Kiva is a finnish word meaning "nice". ;)
Posted at 3:08 am
Junaid says

Respected Audiance, It is very wonderful idea to bring such an organization into North America, becasue with the economic meltdown bank lending creterias are turing very harder to lend loan and only small business is being effected by that. I myself as a small buisness owner cannot see a lot of money outthere which i am use to grow. Anyhow, I hope we see this concept in Canada soon too. Thanks to Grow think, they are always one step ahead in research.
Posted at 10:18 am

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