Sunday, January 27, 2013

Week in Review: Kiva Zip Update

It has now been just over one year since Kiva Zip launched its pilot phase! Since its inception, 126 borrowers have already fully paid back their loans and another 359 are currently in the process of paying back. 

Kiva Zip is currently only serving borrowers in Kenya and the United States, and differs from the original Kiva model in that lending is done directly from the lender to the borrower, eliminating the partner organizations that serve as the middleman in the traditional model. 

Because of this different lending strategy, the clients that Kiva Zip serve sometimes have different qualifications. Kiva Zip’s intentions are to provide borrowers with access to financial services that they would not otherwise be qualified for. This means that borrowers are not always necessarily living in poverty, but may need capital for a start-up that a bank would not provide them. 

Currently in the pilot stage, ‘trustees’ have taken the place of Field Partners. Trustees endorse borrowers after determining that their character and finances would make them a good candidate for a Kiva loan. While trustees never touch the money like a normal microfinance institutions would, Kiva Zip disburses the loans directly to the borrowers at a 0% interest rate. 

A central goal of Kiva Zip is job creation, and on average, every Kiva Zip loan creates 3 jobs. Zip is projected to help over 500 businesses in 2013, yielding 1,500 jobs in just one year! 

Huffington Post recently featured an article highlighting Kiva Zip and some of their favorite Zip borrowers. Below are a few more excellent examples.

Seth Gold, a 22 year old entrepreneur from North Carolina, received a $5,000 loan on Kiva Zip to start his clothing company, Bamboo Apparel. Not only is the clothing environmentally friendly, but uses a one-for-one model. For every Bamboo Apparel product purchased, another is donated to an orphanage around the world!

Ludia is a widowed mother of three living in Sare, Kenya. A Zip loan of $600 allowed her to build a store in which to sell her energy saving stove liners. Having the shed will allow her to build up her inventory and provide a better life for her children. 

Mary used a loan of $150 to buy a deep frier and add utensils to her restaurant in Nakuru, Kenya. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for cooking motivated her to open Imani Cafe, and she hopes that one day she can grow her business and create more job opportunities in her town. Mary was able to pay back her loan in just 3 months.

We have been thrilled with Kiva Zip’s progress thus far, especially considering that we are still in the pilot phase. Kiva is hopeful that at its full potential, Zip will be able to reach many more borrowers and continue to further Kiva’s mission of connecting people through lending to alleviate poverty.

You can find current fundraising Kiva Zip loans here!

Have questions about Kiva Zip? Send them our way at