By: Jon Zemke
The Michigan Corps has formed a partnership of local foundations to create Kiva Detroit, a program that enables local residents to improve their communities by making microloans to local businesses and entrepreneurs.
"The main opportunity we have with Kiva is scale," says Anuja Jaitly, co-founder and executive director of the Michigan Corps. "The resources we can leverage make it hard to reach a limit for making microloans."
Micro-lender ACCION USA, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Kiva.org are working together to create the fund. Kiva Detroit will be able to lend as little as $25 to local, small businesses with loan impact doubled through a one-to-one match supported by $250,000 from the Knight Foundation.
Kiva Detroit is an off-shoot of San Francisco-based Kiva.org, the world's first personal micro-lending website that empowers individuals to lend to entrepreneurs across the globe, with a goal of alleviating poverty. Since 2005, Kiva.org has facilitated more 590,000 loans worth more than $219 million to 567,000 entrepreneurs in 60 countries. So far five small businesses/entrepreneurs from across Metro Detroit have received loans, including a bicycle shop and fashion start-up.
Kiva Detroit is the first in a series of forthcoming Kiva City initiatives to connect Kiva's global network of micro-lenders with more U.S.-based small business owners. The Michigan Corps, a social network of local and global Michiganders committed to change in the Great Lakes State, helped spearhead the partnership with the Knight Foundation's capital and ACCION USA micro-lending expertise.
"We see it as an opportunity to connect and engage Detroiters with local entrepreneurs," Jaitly says.
Source: Anuja Jaitly, co-founder and executive director of the Michigan Corps
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