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Visa contributes $1 million to support Kiva push for US small business loans

20 October 2010  |  1486 views  |  0 Source: Visa

Kiva.org, the world's first personal micro-lending website, and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), a global payments technology company, today announced a partnership to help U.S. small businesses access and benefit from microloans.

Supported by a $1 million contribution from Visa, the partnership expands the reach of Kiva's pioneering microlending model within the United States to further empower small businesses and support job creation. The announcement coincides with a major Kiva expansion in the Gulf Coast through the addition of ACCION Texas-Louisiana, the largest microfinance institution in the country, to the Kiva Field Partners network.

"Small business growth is crucial to stimulating job creation in the U.S. and small loans make a big difference." said Premal Shah, President of Kiva.org. "We see this partnership with Visa as a meaningful opportunity to empower small business owners and help revive the U.S. economy, starting with a region in urgent need."

Kiva is a pioneer in using the internet to connect small businesses, individuals and microfinance institutions worldwide. The Kiva Visa partnership will focus on expanding this model to better serve small businesses within the United States, including building the awareness, understanding and availability of microloans. Initiatives within the partnership include: a collaborative effort to drive awareness and understanding of microfinance for small businesses, building the features and capacity of Kiva's microlending platform to increase capacity to support U.S. small businesses and a joint study to address gaps in research in the marketplace of microfinance in the U.S.

"This partnership advances a shared mission of both Visa and Kiva: helping small businesses grow and ultimately create jobs," said William Sheedy, Group Executive, Americas for Visa Inc. "For many small business owners, a microloan can have an immediate impact and be a critical catalyst for their long-term success."

The Kiva expansion into the Gulf Region comes one year after the organization launched a pilot in the U.S., allowing individuals across the globe to make small loans to U.S. entrepreneurs through its field partners, ACCION USA and Opportunity Fuund. Since then, Kiva has facilitated more than $1 million in loans to U.S. small businesses. Working with ACCION Texas-Louisiana, Kiva lenders, for the first time, will be able to lend to entrepreneurs who have been affected by several disasters in the region over the past five years.

"The Gulf Coast has been hit hard by the economic recession and several disasters," said Janie Barrera, founding president and CEO of ACCION Texas-Louisiana. "Small businesses are critical to recovery and with Kiva lenders we will be able to invest in even more entrepreneurs."

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