Linden Neighborhood Conversation

Melanie Crabill
Director of Media Relations
614.645.5300
[email protected]

Kevin Kilbane
Director of Communications
614.645.6456
[email protected]

Media Advisory
News Date: July 24, 2016

Mayor Ginther and Kiva launch "Kiva Columbus"

Today, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and Kiva.org announced the launch of Kiva Columbus, an initiative that brings crowdfunded microloans to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in Columbus and surrounding areas. Kiva Columbus is made possible by dozens of area organizations joining the initiative as supporters and trustees.

“This initiative is a virtuous circle of opportunity for Columbus where the return on investment is measured more by character than credit scores,” said Mayor Ginther. “We’re giving residents a critical way to directly support the small businesses that are the backbone and creative engine of our local economy, and in turn Columbus entrepreneurs get access to the capital that they need to grow.”

Through Kiva Columbus, anyone can help grow small business and promote local job creation by visiting us.kiva.org/Columbus and choosing a local entrepreneur they want to support with a loan of $25 or more. Beginning today, every dollar that individuals lend to a Columbus borrower will be matched, up to $5,000 per loan, by a local supporter for a total of $100,000. 

Individual loans of $25 or more are collected until the borrower’s full loan request is “crowdfunded.” As the entrepreneur repays, individuals can relend that same money to another person at us.kiva.org/Columbus or withdraw their money and put it back in their pocket. Neither lenders nor Kiva make any money from the loans facilitated.

Small business loans crowdfunded through Kiva Columbus average $5,000 and are offered at 0% interest with no fees and are available to borrowers who may be rejected by traditional lenders. Those interested in applying for a loan can also visit us.kiva.org/Columbus.

“These small business entrepreneurs have all the elements of success. They have the passion and the plan, but lack just a little bit of capital to start up or expand,” said Jonny Price, Co-Founder of Kiva U.S. “A single loan, a single business or a single job can help change the trajectory of families, communities and cities. By lending our support through Kiva Columbus, we can all be a part of their success.”

Kiva has already brought crowdfunded loans to 61 entrepreneurs across the state. Lenders to entrepreneurs in Ohio are people from nearly every state in the U.S. and 21 countries including Japan, UK, China, Ethiopia and Rwanda.

Nationally, small businesses create two-thirds of all new jobs and if just one in three small businesses could hire one more person, the U.S. would be at full employment, according to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity.

“The innovative small business funding Kiva Columbus brings to our community presents a logical partnership for Huntington Bank,” said Steve Steinour, Huntington chairman, president and CEO. “We are passionate about supporting microfinance opportunities to help get targeted credit into the hands of local entrepreneurs. Small business is the backbone of our economy and this initiative fills an important niche facilitating its growth.”

Crowdfunding fills a critical lending gap faced by entrepreneurs whose businesses are too young, too small or too innovative to receive traditional small business loans. According to the Small Business Administration, traditional lenders reject 80% of small business loan applications and Hispanics and African American entrepreneurs are denied small business loans up to three times more often than their Caucasian counterparts.

Through Kiva, a borrower’s credit-worthiness is based on their ability to recruit friends and family to fund a small portion of their loan, demonstrating that they’ve earned trust among the people that know them best. This “social underwriting” creates a system that differs from conventional small business lenders in several ways.  For example, Kiva doesn’t 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 typically.  More than 90% of loan requests on Kiva are fully funded, which is rare among crowdfunding sites.

Outside of Columbus, Kiva’s community of 1.4 million lenders have crowdfunded $850 million in loans--$25 at a time - -to more than 2 million entrepreneurs in 80 countries and 47 U.S. states. The repayment rate is 97%. 

Partners, Supporters and Trustees 
Kiva City Columbus is made possible by several area organizations joining the initiative as Supporters and Trustees. Major supporters include Huntington Bank, along with the City of Columbus, Franklin County, Access Ventures, the Columbus Foundation, United Way of Central Ohio, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, Greater Columbus Arts Council and Forge Columbus.

Kiva Trustees are individuals or organizations that publicly endorse Kiva entrepreneurs in the U.S. that they know and trust in their community. Trustees in the Columbus area who have endorsed borrowers include: the United Way of Central Ohio, Forge Columbus, the Columbus Idea Foundry, Sundown Rundown, Geben Communication, Small Business Beanstalk, Cultivate CDC, Increase CDC and Luke Westerman. 

To become a Kiva Trustee or request a loan visit us.kiva.org/Columbus

HOW IT WORKS:

Lenders: Visitors to us.kiva.org/Columbus can choose the entrepreneur they want to help crowdfund with a loan of $25 or more. As the entrepreneur repays, lenders can relend to another person on us.kiva.org/Columbus or withdraw their money and put it back in their pocket. Neither lenders nor Kiva make any money from the loans facilitated.

Borrowers: Kiva’s loans are available up to $10,000 and are designed to reach small business owners locked out of traditional lending or who are engaged in strengthening their communities. Loans are offered at 0% interest and no fees, minimum credit score, years of operation or collateral. Ninety percent of loan requests are fully fundraised, which is rare among crowdfunding sites. Find out more at us.kiva.org/Columbus 

About Kiva.org
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 $850 million in microloans to more than 2 million entrepreneurs in 80 countries, with a 97% repayment rate. For more information, visit www.kiva.org and us.kiva.org/Columbus