Microlending platform Kiva NWA, which provides financial access to entrepreneurs in northwest Arkansas, announced its 100th loan.
The nonprofit, whose work has been facilitated by Startup Junkie Foundation of Fayetteville, has now provided more than $800,000 in interest-free loans to the community since it launched in late 2019.
The platform prioritizes "character over credit," and aims to fund opportunities for borrowers when conventional lenders cannot.
"After just a few short months of leading the hub, I’ve been able to see the life-changing impact these loans can make in our community, particularly on business owners that have been underserved in the past or don’t have other ways to access capital," Claudia Scott, Kiva NWA capital access manager, said in a news release. "Over 90% of our loans have been to women and/or minority owned businesses, which speaks to our mission and purpose."
Kiva was established in Uganda in 2005. It expanded to the U.S. in 2009 and implemented its hubs program two years later.
The hub in northwest Arkansas is one of over 40 across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It's supported by grants from the Walton Family Foundation, which in November provided a $470,000 grant to Startup Junkie Foundation to continue connecting to the lender to small business owners.
Borrowers and small businesses can crowdfund business loans ranging from $1,000-$15,000 on Kiva's website. Through the NWA Kiva Hub, the Startup Junkie Foundation provides consulting and technical assistance with the online application process.
A loan requires between five and 40 initial, private loans of $25 or more before launching to the two million kiva lenders around the globe.