A lot of microloans have added up.
Kiva, a nonprofit that crowdfunds loans for women, students and other underserved entrepreneurs, has hit the $1 billion mark in financing female businesses across the globe. Through its online platform, Kiva.org, the organization has granted the milestone microloans to more than 2.7 million women in 94 countries.
That means more women like Letticia, a farmer in Zimbabwe who secured $500 for supplies, and Renee, a cafe owner in California who secured $10,000 to hire more youth employees and buy equipment, were able to realize their visions for their ventures.
“The strength of these women who’ve put Kiva loans to work to benefit themselves and their communities is the reason that we exist today,” Goldie Chow, Director of Impact at Kiva, said in a statement. “We will continue to empower female entrepreneurship, and do all that we can to generate greater financial inclusion for the next generation of female entrepreneurs worldwide.”
According to Forbes, two-thirds of people around the world who do not have access to financial services or credit are women — yet studies on microfinance have shown that women are more likely to repay their loans on time and default less.
Kiva, based in San Francisco, has offices in places such as Bangkok and Nairobi and was started in 2005 by Stanford University graduates Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley, who divorced in 2008. Since its launch, the nonprofit has crowdfunded loans totaling nearly $1.4 billion worldwide to men and women alike. It has a repayment rate of about 97 percent.
Neville Crawley, CEO of Kiva, vowed in a statement that the company would continue to promote financial inclusion as a way to close the gender equality gap, and “seek and develop new ways to transform the financial and social systems to work better for [women].”
Through October 13, anyone who makes a loan on the Kiva.org platform will receive a $25 credit from PepsiCo to lend to a female borrower of their choice, until funds last.