We recently had our first Kiva Loan fully funded and it’s been the best experience. We have the worst credit and have been turned down from EVERYONE ELSE!
Starting a small business and then bootstrapping with your extra cash at the end of the month is one thing if you live above the poverty line and actually have ANY AMOUNT of discretionary income in your budget. It’s another thing entirely when a disability prevents you from finding, (or keeping,) conventional gainful employment, yet somehow still empowers you with the ambition to rise above and claw your way out of poverty. Not to impugn anyone’s experiences, by any means. Starting a small business and working for oneself is a monumental task for anyone.
Our experiences, however, have been the latter.
I’m not telling you this for sympathy or to make excuses. On the contrary. But, this IS our story. This is how we got to where we are. Childhood traumas. Repeated homelessness. Autism. Severe mental illness. Financial struggles. From not being able to scrape together $10. From not eating for days at a time. To constantly having to worry about if we are going to make enough to keep a roof over our heads, and to finally being able to mostly support ourselves with our work from home businesses. We are almost there and we are growing. We are so thankful for everyone and everything that’s been a part of our journey, good and bad, setbacks and triumphs, struggles and successes, support and discouragement. Because without every single part of it we would not be here today and we would not be able to bring the same things to the table.
We are all shaped by our experiences. It’s what we do with them and the choices that we make in spite of them that make us who we are.
The way Kiva works, is they require you to crowd-fund the first 5-35 lenders depending on your credit history from your own personal network. They asked us to find 25 people to lend $25 each and gave us 15 days to do that. We managed to this just in the knick of time. Most of our network comes from an economically disadvantaged background too, but many were willing to lend just $25. Then after the personal funding period if you make your goal, the loan is then visible to the entire Kiva network so that anyone can lend to it. 92% of loans that make it to the public funding period, get fully funded. There’s 30 days in the public funding period which is plenty of time to get noticed on the Kiva network and reach your goal. Ours was fully funded within a week of going public. The funds are then dispersed to your paypal account within 5-7 business days. You can sign up for a free debit card attached to your paypal if you’re a business or you can transfer the funds to any bank account which takes a few days. It’s 30 days before you start repaying the loan and its 0% INTEREST! so the payments are low. We are paying $80/month on a $1000 loan. The best part about Kiva is once you get one loan for them and build up some credit with them, you’re eligible to do so again in the future for larger amounts and less personal fundraising required. It’s truly a blessing for small business owners that don’t have the family help or social network with money, or who’ve had bad credit for reasons outside of their control that can’t otherwise get funding. Kiva is the first and largest micro-lending service in the world that has distributed $709 million over 10 years, in 85 different countries, among 1.5 million small businesses.
To apply for a Kiva loan: https://www.kiva.org/borrow/MTGRK8KPTY3E38PPXRYUVWPR