After four years of branding themselves as a leading micro-finance organization for entrepreneurs in poor and under-developed countries, Kiva decided last month to expand their outreach into the United States.
This is Kiva’s initial launch in a country considered as wealthy, in terms of access to opportunities and capital, and feedback from supporters regarding this expansion has been met with mixed commentary.
Kiva’s founders began the non-profit enterprise in 2005, focusing their efforts on empowering residents of impoverished nations by providing loans through small amounts of money collected from supporters worldwide for men and women to start businesses that serve and strengthen their communities and lift families out of poverty.
The organization has spearheaded loans of $85.8 million that assist approximately 210,000 individuals in 182 countries. Those who are disappointed about Kiva’s decision to assist U.S.-based entrepreneurs believe that loans to business owners in rich lands will dilute the pool of money available to poor nations.
American business owners have many methods available to raise capital. Books and other resource materials remind us that personal savings are first for funding, followed by monies borrowed from family, friends, banks, credit unions, small business associations, and grants and loans from private groups.
Those who are opposed to U.S. inclusion point to these vast resources. However, many American entrepreneurs with credible plans have felt the economy’s sting.
Money sources aren’t as plentiful as in the past, and though the U.S. is not considered impoverished, it’s mending from a domino effect of big business closures that have drastically decreased capital once available to small businesses. Perhaps this classifies many more U.S. start-ups as disadvantaged, at least on a temporary basis.
What’s your feeling about Kiva’s inclusion of American-based entrepreneurs? Are you opposed because it dilutes funds available in destitute countries or, due to your own inability to find traditional lenders, does this news encourage you to apply for funding?
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About the Author: Shirley George Frazier is chief marketing officer at Solo Business Marketing, a professional speaker at worldwide business and marketing conferences, and author of Marketing Strategies for the Home-Based Business: Solutions You Can Use Today. Shirley twitters at @ShirleyFrazier and blogs at the Solo Business Marketing Blog.