Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kiva Lenders and Kiva Entrepreneurs Toasted at the bLENDer Event

The bLENDer was the first event of its kind and one celebrating and raising awareness about microfinance in the United States. Co-hosted by ACCION USA, the largest microlender in the United States, it had all of the elements of Kiva- under one roof.

It was amazing to see the line-up at the door as the house filed with guests from all corners of Kiva: Kiva Lenders, Kiva Borrowers, Kiva Fellows, microfinance staff, donors, board members, executives and friends who came out to support a worthy cause.

Kiva Fellow Alumni (Adam Grenier, Whittney Zimmerman, Nick Roose) hosted the "Lending Lounge"- a room where event guests could learn about Kiva and make a loan. It was incredible - imagine new Kiva Lenders getting the full experience as former fellows navigated them all over the Kiva website and helped them make a loan to one of our entrepreneurs that were also at the event. So cool!

Luis, an ACCION USA entrepreneur who was also featured on ABC, came with his son to the event. They brought along some wonderful pastries from one of the bakeries he has a delivery contract with.

Another AUSA entrepreneur Joe brought one of his vehicles sporting his faux fur invention. He was a hit at the party and hopefully made a few sales too!

Alejandro is a long time ACCION USA entrepreneur, he was thrilled to be at the event and spoke with ACCION USA board members for most of the evening- he left a wonderful impression on them.

The event marked Kiva's launch into the United States and was a celebration of the unique partnership between ACCION USA and Kiva. Together we are raising awareness about the importance of microfinance in the United States. Gina Harman, ACCION USA CEO, (below with, Erica Dorn, Kiva Fellow, and Glamis Haro, AUSA Loan Consultant) spoke and emphasized the important mission of providing access to capital to microentreprises in our communities.

To learn more about the importance of microfinance in the U.S., check out