Fund It Forward: Making A Difference Through Kiva Microlending

4 min read • Mar 06, 2020 • Mary Kate Miller

At Lendio, we don’t just believe that American dreams are worth fueling. We believe that entrepreneurs around the globe all deserve a fighting chance to grow their businesses and make better lives for themselves. That’s why we partner with Kiva, a nonprofit that funds microloans for entrepreneurs in the US and around the world, through our social responsibility program, Lendio Gives

For every loan facilitated on the Lendio marketplace, Lendio Gives donates a percentage of those funds to Kiva. When an entrepreneur repays a loan, Lendio reinvests the money into Kiva. It doesn’t stop there—more than 85% of Lendio employees donate a portion of their paychecks to Kiva funding. Many of the loans supported by Lendio range from $25–350. Today, we’re celebrating those entrepreneurs and what they’ve been able to do with smaller sums of capital. 

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

As any retail business owner (or casual viewer of Shark Tank) knows, the cost of inventory can be a burden. A retail entrepreneur in Burkina Faso took out a microloan from Kiva to help her overcome this hurdle. She used the $275 loan to purchase towels and garments for men and women. Growing her inventory strengthens her business in 2 ways. First, it allows her the opportunity to grow her customer base. Second, it reduces the chances that she will have to deny sales from repeat customers solely because she is out of stock. The purchase of these key products adds consistency to her business, and because she invested in staples, she’s addressing a recurring need in the market. 

In addition to facilitating these purchases, the loan provided this clothing entrepreneur with a safety net, allowing her to save funds to improve her family’s living conditions. 

Chuka, Kiambu, Kenya

Running a farm is hard work. It can be even harder when you don’t have the capital to maximize your harvest. That’s the challenge that this farmer and many of her neighboring farmers face. Agricultural growth in her village has been stymied by a lack of access to agricultural inputs. Agricultural inputs are external ingredients like seeds, fertilizers, and insecticides that can be put into the soil to support the yield. Profitable farming in the US depends on these ingredients, and the same is true in Kenya. 

This farmer used her $300 Kiva microloan to purchase agricultural inputs. Nutrient-rich fertilizer was particularly cited as an asset she was able to procure through the loan.  As a result, she saw an increased yield and higher profits.

Maybe even more importantly, these results have contributed to this farmer’s sense of independence and ignited a new passion. Day and night, all she thinks about is farming, allowing her to invest in her own professional passion. 

Chichigalpa-Chinandega, Chinandega Department, Nicaragua

Community support can be essential in supporting growth. Kiva understands that entrepreneurs have a higher chance of success if they bind together, which is why you’ll see so many collectives on the platform. This trio in Nicaragua is evidence of just how great success can be, even though they’re each working in different industries. One entrepreneur sells clothes, the second sells wood, and the third works as a grocer. The former supported the latter in repaying her Kiva loan and taking the steps necessary to grow her grocery business. This small business has operated for the past 15 years, and the grocer used her Kiva funds to purchase rice, oil, beans, sugar, coffee, and other products. These inventory purchases are a staple for most grocery businesses, and this inventory directly contributes to larger sales. Who knows, the next time we check in, her small grocery business could be a medium or even large grocery business. 

Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango, Quetzaltenango Department, Guatemala

We often hear about how many billionaires dropped out of school. While it may not have been the choice of this entrepreneur to leave school after 6th grade, she’s not letting educational limits stand in the way of her business growth. This Guatemalan clothing entrepreneur understands that efficiency is key to maximizing output and profits. That’s why she sought a Kiva loan for a sewing machine. The same way that Lendio entrepreneurs take out equipment loans to galvanize their businesses, this Kiva borrower was able to increase her output by transitioning from hand to machine sewing. While it might seem like a no-brainer to us, purchasing a sewing machine was outside her working capital means. Kiva was able to provide the capital she needed to make the equipment purchase, and her borrowing collective was there to provide any support needed to ensure she could repay the loan. 

Check back soon for more updates on the ways that loans funded through Lendio are supporting the growth of entrepreneurs around the world. We’ll keep funding through Kiva because we believe that increased access to capital increases opportunity— no matter how much capital you need or where you live. 

Mary Kate Miller

Mary Kate Miller is a writer based in Chicago, IL. She specializes in covering finance (personal and business), investing, and real estate. Her mission in life is to give readers the confidence and the knowledge needed to grow their wealth by making financial topics more accessible. When she's not writing about topics like business loans, you can find her playing armchair financial advisor to the Real Housewives.