Startups and small businesses in northeast Indiana that struggle to obtain traditional funding have a new option for securing capital.
Nonprofit business incubator The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center has launched the Kiva Hub Northeast Indiana, a crowdfunded microlending center.
The NIIC says this approach to funding offers distinct advantages to newer, smaller businesses that may lack a credit history to secure a traditional bank loan.
“Kiva connects aspiring entrepreneurs with capital in a unique way,” said Jami Thomas, NIIC grants compliance specialist and Kiva-Capital access manager. “Through Kiva Northeast Indiana, business builders may obtain crowd-sourced loans.”
The NIIC says the money comes from people in the community who want to support others by loaning sums as small as $25.
“Community-minded funders can invest in local start-ups and small businesses knowing that their contributions will help build the regional economy and put Hoosiers to work,” said Thomas.
Thomas says Kiva will not reject an entrepreneur because of their credit, net worth, or years in business. Rather, Kiva’s crowd-sourced model determines borrowers’ creditworthiness through social underwriting based on character and reputation.
Borrowers can access up to $10,000 at zero percent interest with no fees. According to The NIIC, Kiva loans have a 97% or better repayment rate.
The NIIC lending hub was developed in partnership with the city of Fort Wayne, The Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District, and the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
There is also a Kiva Hub serving the greater Indianapolis area through nonprofit lending agency Bankable in Anderson.
To learn more about the Kiva Hub in northeast Indiana, click here.