Microlending website Kiva and payments provider Visa announced a program that will provide microloans to small businesses in U.S. cities with the greatest need.
According to the official announcement, the Kiva City program “aims to spur job growth and economic recovery by connecting Kiva’s global network of 592,000 individual lenders with the owners of small businesses throughout the country”.
The Kiva City program will launch today in Detroit which ranked fifth in the study’s list of U.S. small business trouble reports. In addition to Detroit, several other regions including Cleveland, Miami, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Orlando, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Providence, and Milwaukee are also able to join the network.
“Since launching in the U.S. two years ago, we have worked with our partners to replicate our successful global model, empowering each and every American to help our economy by adding as little as $25 to a small business owner’s loan,” said Premal Shah, co-founder of Kiva.org. “But as our study shows, the needs in the U.S. are widespread and many regions simply don’t have microfinance institutions operating at scale. Now, spurred by Visa’s commitment to small business, we are able to expand our reach and, as a result, open new avenues of capital for small business owners across the country.”
According to a new study commissioned by Kiva and Visa, the Economist Intelligence Unit, 20 of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas have lost at least one percent of their small businesses from 2006 to 2008 - representing approximately 15,000 businesses.