Flint, Michigan - May 10, 2013 - Michigan Corps, a platform empowering Michiganders everywhere to make a difference at home, is launching Kiva in Flint to engage the Flint community as lenders and champions of local businesses building a vibrant community.
The launch of Kiva in Flint marks Michigan Corps' statewide expansion of their ground-breaking partnership with Kiva, founded in Detroit in June 2011. The initiative leverages zip.kiva.org, a pilot program of Kiva.org where individuals can browse through the profiles and stories of local business owners and budding entrepreneurs, and select those they want to support with a $25 loan. Their contribution helps to crowdfund interest free loans to the entrepreneur they select. As part of the unique peer-to-peer website, citizen lenders and entrepreneurs also have the opportunity to connect and share ideas via an online conversation forum.
Michigan Corps' partnership with Kiva is expanding to Flint with four local entrepreneurs ranging from home-based retail to restaurant businesses, who will share funding needs up to $5,000 to grow their businesses. Individuals are invited to stimulate local economic growth by lending directly to these businesses, $25 at a time, at zip.kiva.org.
"The launch of Kiva in Flint extends a unique opportunity to nurture community pride and engage citizens in contributing to positive developments across our city", said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling. "It's great to have a new way to bring our community together in support of small businesses in this exciting way."
The launch of Kiva in Flint comes at an important time for the city, which is working to foster new investment by businesses, job growth and a resurgence of hope after years of economic downturn. According to research commissioned by Kiva and Visa, and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, small businesses are especially vulnerable during economic downturns and yet represent 75 percent of the companies operating in the U.S. today.
In this challenging environment, several Flint-area organizations and citizens are coming together to support local businesses as mentors, customers, and now lenders, to champion their success. Through Kiva, Michigan Corps aspires to complement the range of efforts already underway across the city in support of small business and entrepreneurship.
"Michigan Corps hopes to serve as a catalyst for citizens, community leaders and organizations to come together in new ways, amplifying our ability to bring about positive developments across our state", said Elizabeth Garlow, Executive Director of Michigan Corps. "Kiva helps unlock our greatest asset - passionate citizens near and far. Our communities in Michigan will thrive as we remain committed to one another's success."
Kiva in Flint is an innovative collaboration among five leading organizations including:
Michigan Corps is leading the development of "Team Kiva Flint", comprised of a cross-section of Flint community leaders and organizations. This group recruits small businesses interested in microloans funded by Kiva lenders, engages Flint citizens interested in supporting these businesses, and builds lasting community, engagement, and leadership capacity among lenders, borrowers, and other stakeholders.
is featuring Flint borrowers on zip.kiva.org to allow Flint citizens and the broader Internet community to lend to and champion the success of Flint businesses, $25 at a time.
Metro Community Development, Inc. (MCD) is a Community Development Financial Institution with a strong emphasis on community and business building. MCD joins Michigan Corps as a Trustee organization on Kiva Zip, to recommend local businesses for funding opportunities through Kiva.
focuses on promoting Flint through positive stories, community programs and new opportunities to attract and retain committed, talented people who make Flint a flourishing place to live, work and play. Flint Club is inviting its members to play a leading role in nominating and lending to Flint businesses on Kiva.
The Flint Area Reinvestment Office
has a history of working with local partners on creative solutions to the community's most pressing needs, and assists local organizations with successfully attracting state and federal funding. FARO will continue to play a lead role in assisting stakeholders' efforts to build sustainability and engagement around lending in Flint via zip.kiva.org.
"Metro Community Development's collaboration on Kiva in Flint has helped us achieve more of our mission to create jobs and build access to capital for those who do not otherwise qualify for traditional lending", said Ravi Yalamanchi, CEO of Metro Community Development, one of the founding partner organizations of Kiva Flint. "It's a big win for the community."
To nominate an entrepreneur in Flint for Kiva, visit http://www.michigancorps.org/kiva or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
. To lend directly to a Flint entrepreneur, register at http://zip.kiva.org
and search ‘Flint'.
All media inquiries should be directed to Elizabeth Garlow at email@example.com
or 313-451-1217. For more about Michigan Corps and Kiva in Flint, please visit http://www.michigancorps.org.
- Elizabeth Garlow, Executive Director of Michigan Corps, has been with Michigan Corps since May 2012.