Kiva Tucson Making an Impact

The rate that entrepreneurs are starting new businesses in the US has been flat for almost 20 years. While there are many factors, lack of access to capital is a barrier that is difficult for many would-be business owners to overcome. This trend of stagnant new business growth is fueled by the reality that a significant portion of the population – women, people of color and rural entrepreneursface significant hurdles finding funding necessary to start and grow a new business.

This is problematic because entrepreneurs – not big businesses – are fueling all new net job creation (Kaufman, Start Us Up).

“Supporting and expanding entrepreneurship increases jobs, innovation, and productivity.” Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. This is going to be crucial for the recovery we face in the wake of the pandemic.

At CIC, we’ve been building platforms to offer more options to entrepreneurs to access capital, in many cases creating the first rung on the capital access ladder for small business owners. 

One such platform we’ve activated in partnership with Growth Partners Arizona and the City of Tucson is Kiva – a community backed lending platform for small business owners, offering 0%, zero fee micro loans from $1,000 – $15,000. Since the launch of Kiva Tucson, 23 local business owners have raised nearly $200,000 in funding to grow and develop their business during one of the toughest times for small business, many of which have been drastically impacted by COVID-19.

Another fascinating statistic that confirms the findings of the Kauffman Foundation, these 23 small businesses have added a total of 44 new jobs since July 2020. 

“Without the loan I was able to raise through Kiva, I would never have been able to further develop my business helping to place nurses in healthcare facilities. I’ve been able to hire 15 healthcare workers who rely on my business to connect them where the need is greatest.” Philemon Prescoss, CEO, 3Twelves.

As a restaurant owner during this time, Gada Ghotmi, owner of Med Cuisine, has known the challenges first hand across many fronts. She and her husband were both hospitalized with COVID-19, but she was determined to build her business back, and with the help of a Kiva loan to provide the funding she needed to restock and hire help, she’s been able to hire 6 people since July 2020. “Kiva was the lifeline we needed. No bank was willing to loan money to a restaurant owner in the middle of the pandemic.”

CIC is committed to continued innovation for entrepreneurs to access the capital needed to build and grow business for the community to accelerate recovery, and ensure the US economy has the fuel it needs to grow sustainably.

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