INDEX:award finalist: kiva.org
 
INDEX:award finalist: kiva.org INDEX:award finalist: kiva.org
aug 28, 2009

INDEX:award finalist: kiva.org

bring lenders and small entrepreneurs together to aggregate loans into a major center of person-to-person micro-finance. kiva executives have set 1 billion USD from 1 million lenders as their goal.

san francisco based kiva.org received INDEX:awards work category 09. the company empowers people to lend directly to small entrepreneurs from all over the world. as we enter the weekend of index:award 2009 events, kiva.org will have lent more than 87 million USD to developing-world entrepreneurs, micro-finance loans made by some 500,000 online participants, most of whom make loans of 25 USD at a time.

currently, lenders at kiva.org are not paid interest as entrepreneurs pay back the money. the site does, however, have a 98-percent payback rate. once a lender’s money has been returned, that lender has the option of removing it from the kiva system or re-loaning it to other entrepreneurs. to choose an entrepreneur, users search by region, gender and business sector. the user selects a loan applicant and how much funding to provide. the organization has built up a network of more than 100 intermediary micro-finance partners, who process applications, loans and paybacks, to and from the kiva system.

earlier this year, kiva opened lending to entrepreneurs in the united states, making the country the 52nd nation in kiva’s system of loan recipients. the move is controversial in some quarters, critics saying the kiva mission is best limited to the developing world.

kiva co-founder matt flannery- originally a programmer with tivo in california mentioned,‘i’m excited about it (the us lending) because it represents a further blurring of the lines in people’s minds. that’s a big part of our philosophy, we want to break down people’s categories, to educate people. they tend to think, ‘oh, there’s rich countries and there’s poor countries and the people in them are totally different.’ … now i can walk down the street and visit a kiva loan recipient a couple of blocks from my house.’

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