Kiva Microgrant Program
Kiva is a global nonprofit organization that provides interest-free crowdfunded microloans to local entrepreneurs. The Norwalk Kiva Hub is designed to connect local entrepreneurs who don’t typically receive funding from traditional lenders with access to capital through Kiva’s unique network of microlenders. Kiva works with more than 70 countries on five continents. Since 2005, the nonprofit has provided more than 1.9 million loans equaling $1.6 billion in funding. More than 80 percent of loans have been to women.
The City is committed to the development, retention and growth of small businesses within Norwalk, along with job retention and new employment opportunities. Of the $8.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding committed to Economic and Community Development, over $3.7 million is focused on small businesses, specifically women and minority-owned business entities. Investing in the City’s first-ever Kiva Hub is one of several initiatives that focus within our Economic and Community Development strategic plan to support small businesses.
Kiva’s network of microlenders creates the first step for small businesses to move up the capital ladder. The Norwalk Kiva Hub allows entrepreneurs who may have been previously denied access to a loan an alternative way to access capital. Through the City of Norwalk’s new Kiva Hub, local businesses can access between $1,000 to $15,000 at 0% interest. The City of Norwalk will also match Women and Minority-Owned Businesses up to 50% of their Kiva-approved loan, up to $7,500. The City recently opened up the Norwalk Kiva Hub office, located at 3 Belden Ave., Norwalk, CT, where entrepreneurs can get direct assistance with their businesses.
Anyone can help support and grow small businesses, including those in Norwalk, through the Kiva partnership. They can also help promote local job creation by visiting Kiva.org and choosing a local entrepreneur they want to support with a loan of $25 or more. Entrepreneurs apply directly to Kiva’s U.S. site to fundraise on the platform and are connected to millions of Kiva lenders. It also enables local lenders to make direct loans to entrepreneurs in their neighborhoods. The Kiva partnership will span a minimum of three years and is in addition to the plethora of programming that the City has to offer.
If you wish to become a lender, please visit the Kiva website for lenders.