Maga-
zines need love too!
What advice would you give to your younger self? @TiffanyPersons shares a letter she wrote. http://t.co/NADk3iCXqU #womeninspire @Gapinc  →
Kiva Microloans: Not Just for Developing Countries Anymore Kiva Microloans: Not Just for Developing Countries Anymore

Kiva Microloans: Not Just for Developing Countries Anymore

by Sammy Roth
July 6, 2012

Kiva might have started as a microloan tool for entrepreneurs in developing countries, but the nonprofit has recently turned its attention to American cities, partnering with groups in Detroit and New Orleans as part of its Kiva City initiative. Last week, Kiva City officially launched in Los Angeles, announcing 13 initial L.A. loans in a press conference at Café 22, a recipient of one of those loans.

Kiva is coming to Los Angeles with the help of the Valley Economic Development Center, which is providing $700,000 in loan funding. As Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa emphasized at the press conference, the city’s small business-oriented economy is still reeling from the recession, and with Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate hovering around 12 percent, Kiva could do some much-needed work to help create jobs in the city. That’s certainly what happened with Café 22. The health-food restaurant’s co-owners, a husband-and-wife team, are using their $5,000 microloan to hire a delivery person and pay business license fees.

Now, for all the hype over microlending, it’s hard to ignore the flaws that need to be ironed out—it hasn’t been very effective at pulling people in developing countries out of poverty, microlenders seem to favor certain demographic groups over others, and some microlending companies have run into trouble with national governments.

The $700,000 Kiva has secured so far in Los Angeles definitely won’t be turning the city’s economy right around, but when you see tangible results–like a family-owned restaurant getting the funding it needs–it’s also hard not to feel just a little bit hopeful.

Photo via Kiva

+
Join the discussion
  • This Tree Produces Forty Types of Fruit The living, edible art of Sam Van Aken's grafted stone fruit experiment
    Culture
    Maxwell Williams
  • Dear 14-Year-Old Me The intuitive, emotional side of yourself guides your experiences and shapes how you learn. You grasp information viscerally, which can make traditional schooling a little bit harder for you.
    Lifestyle
    Tiffany Persons
  • Danish Architects Reimagine the Zoo The search for a more ethical wildlife park
    Design
    Caroline Pham
  • Learning to Farm Fish Responsibly Breakthroughs in aquaculture are winning over longtime skeptics.
    Environment
    Kelly McCartney
  • Stories for Boys Sundance-winner Rich Hill picks up where Linklater left off.
    Lifestyle
    Joshua Neuman
  • The Human Side of Spam Spanish photographer Christina de Middel smudges fact and fiction with her staged images of Russian widows and Nigerian lawyers in distress.
    Lifestyle
    Caroline Pham