Starting today, Kiva is announcing a partnership with Visa—supported by a $1 million contribution from the company—to expand opportunities for U.S. small businesses to benefit from the power of microloans. We're also announcing a new Kiva field partner in the hard hit Gulf Coast: ACCIÓN Texas-Louisiana.
Kiva.org and Visa Partner to Expand Microloan Opportunities for U.S. Small BusinessKiva Extends Reach to Gulf Coast to Support Economic Recovery in Hard-Hit RegionSAN FRANCISCO, CA – October 20, 2010 – Kiva.org, the world's first personal micro-lending website, and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), a global payments technology company, today announced a partnership to help U.S. small businesses access and benefit from microloans. Supported by a $1 million contribution from Visa, the partnership expands the reach of Kiva’s pioneering microlending model within the United States to further empower small businesses and support job creation. The announcement coincides with a major Kiva expansion in the Gulf Coast through the addition of ACCIÓN Texas-Louisiana, the largest microfinance institution in the country, to the Kiva Field Partners network.
This represents an expansion of our pilot in the US. Many thanks to ACCION USA and Opportunity Fund, our field partners from the original US pilot last year, who have helped us raise $1 million for U.S. small businesses!
Working with ACCION Texas-Louisiana, Kiva lenders, for the first time, will be able to lend to entrepreneurs who have been affected by several disasters in the region over the past five years.
We've posted a number of loans from ACCION Texas-Louisiana on the Kiva website already, including the following:
Bernard McGraw was managing the catering sector of the Bayou Baglery in New Orleans until 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana coast. Bernard, his wife, Charlene, and his six boys were separated during the extreme chaos the city experienced during the storm’s immediate aftermath. Charlene and the boys evacuated on a truck reserved for women and children with Texas as its general destination while Bernard made his way to the closest airport. Among the many long lines of people going to different cities, Bernard chose to go to San Antonio because he had heard its mayor, Phil Hardberger, announce on CNN that the city had sufficient resources to take care of Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Because the cell phone towers had shut down, Bernard and Charlene had a difficult time getting in touch with each other. After two weeks, Bernard learned from his mother that Charlene and the boys were in the Astrodome in Houston. Bernard went to Houston, found his family, and took them back to San Antonio. The Bayou Baglery had been forced to close and Bernard did not have a job or home to return to in New Orleans. The McGraws decided to set down their roots in San Antonio and Bernard found a run-down shack on the Southside of town and set up a kitchen with a hot plate, a refrigerator, and a deep fryer from the flea market, and tables and chairs from Wal-mart. Soon after, Bernard realized that his make-shift restaurant needed to make several changes in order to meet permit standards. Also, in that short amount of time, Bernard developed an incredibly loyal and gracious clientele from the close-by military base. They raised money at the base to help Bernard make all the required repairs and to obtain various permits and licenses. Since 2007, Bernard’s Creole Kitchen has won the San Antonio Critic’s Choice Award, the Blue Plate Award and the Talk of the Town Award.
Here are some more loans from our existing US partners, ACCION USA and Opportunity Fund.
Kayembe from ACCION USA
Originally from the Congo, Kayembe has been living in the United States for over 10 years. While he works at a car wash for steady income, he also has a successful business importing and selling handmade African masks and statutes from the Congo and other areas of central Africa. He has several booths at weekend flea markets in New York and the surrounding area.
Ngoc from Opportunity Fund
Ngoc, who moved to the U.S. from Vietnam in 1995, has been a manicurist for the past ten years. She first began working at Top Nail in 2004, and within three years was able to purchase the salon from its previous owner. Since then, she has successfully managed the business and her four employees. Ngoc enjoys strong ties with her loyal customers, and sees a considerable amount of new business from pedestrians strolling past her nail salon, located in Gilroy’s Historic District.
To learn more about how Kiva and Visa are partnering to help support help U.S. small businesses, visit kiva.org/visa.
You can also view Kiva's Gulf Coast and other U.S. loans at the following link: