Entrepreneurship is challenging. It requires determination, embracing risk, and not shying away from failure. Since founding Lendio eight years ago, one thing has kept me constantly motivated: a desire to help other business owners achieve their goals. One of the primary reasons my cofounder Trent Miskin and I decided to start Lendio is the realization that small-dollar loans can be a huge catalyst for growth. Lendio’s mission from day one has been to fuel the American dream for business owners across the country. We do that by helping them access the right growth capital to accomplish their business goals. Lendio’s CRO Ben Davis explains it best. He says, “when you help people have more options, choices, paths to walk down, or doors to open, they tend to make good decisions about which doors to walk through. If you want to make the world a better place, be part of giving them more, and better, doors to choose from.” Entrepreneurship & Local Economic Growth Entrepreneurs are the front lines of door creation in our communities and our broader economy. To predict where an economy will be 50 to 100 years from now, whether it’s a neighborhood, town, city, state, or country, measure the degree to which the people in that region protect, promote, revere, celebrate, and value entrepreneurship. When all other factors are equal, I believe the group that honors small business owners best will thrive more than the rest. When Lendio was looking for the right philanthropic endeavor to get involved with, we wanted to rally the team around this concept of empowering the “door creators,” as Ben calls them. And we wanted to do it on a global scale. Our cofounder and EVP of Sales Operations, Brett Child, spearheaded an employee donation and employer matching program we call Lendio Gives. He started a Lendio Gives lending team at Kiva.org, a non-profit organization that is a stellar door creator in roughly 80 countries around the world. Brett has a love of small business and he's particularly passionate about the concept of helping underserved markets access growth capital. "Kiva’s microlending program is highly aligned with Lendio’s mission to help small business owners get access to capital, typically when others have already told them no," says Brett. His enthusiasm for this cause has been and is still instrumental in driving employee engagement and donations. We are now at a point where, for every new loan facilitated on Lendio’s marketplace platform, Lendio Gives is able to provide a microloan to a low-income entrepreneur around the world through Kiva. Supporting Business Growth Around the World The team here at Lendio understands that giving even a small boost to underserved businesses can empower individuals to take advantage of opportunities. For this reason, they generously donate from their own paychecks, and Lendio matches that amount. Lendio also reinvests all repayments into new loans, furthering the impact of every dollar donated. Lendio Gives is one of the fastest-growing groups on the Kiva crowdfunding platform, typically ranking among the top five Business - International Groups each month for new fundings. Kiva and its localized partners vet small business borrowers and provide short-term microloans, usually in amounts from $150 to $5,000, to underserved small businesses around the world. One hundred percent of every dollar a company lends to Kiva goes to funding loans. Lendio Gives supports many sectors including agriculture, food, retail, clothing, and services, and the vast majority of our loans go to women or women’s groups. Earlier this year I had the privilege of listening to Richard Branson speak at the Qualtrics X4 Summit. His concept of circles of influence really resonated with me, especially in terms of supporting entrepreneurship on a global scale. As young entrepreneurs we focus mostly on making ourselves and our businesses better. As we grow and become more successful, our circles of influence widen. We then have the influence to work on making our families, workplaces, communities, cities, states, and countries better. I truly believe that when we create more and better doors for entrepreneurs to choose from, their circles of influence grow, and the whole world benefits as a result.