President Bill Clinton Helps Launch Kiva City Little Rock to Bolster Small
Kiva, Visa Inc. and Accion Texas Inc. Team Up to Provide Access to
Small Dollar Loans Through Proven Crowdfunding Platform
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- (Marketwire) -- 03/15/13 -- President Bill
Clinton today helped announce the launch of Kiva City Little Rock, an
initiative that expands the availability of microloans for small
business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Little Rock area.
The program reaches underserved borrowers by crowdfunding loans,
connecting current and future small business owners to a global
online community where anyone with an Internet connection and $25 or
more can lend to a local Arkansas business at kiva.org/littlerock.
Kiva City Little Rock is the latest implementation of the Kiva City
Initiative, a partnership between Kiva and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V)
launched at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in June
"Successful small business owners in Little Rock and across the
country have the power to accelerate job growth and economic
opportunity for all of us," said President Bill Clinton as he
announced the national Kiva City Initiative from the stage of CGI
America in 2011. "They have the plan and the passion; and this
Commitment to Action will provide the much-needed capital to start or
Kiva City Little Rock is a collaboration between Kiva, Visa and
Accion Texas, with area nonprofits serving as Kiva Zip Trustees,
helping to identify and endorse the borrowers. Part of the power of
Kiva City Little Rock is that it is driven by local people with local
solutions for starting or expanding small businesses and stimulating
Through Kiva City Little Rock, everyone can help fill the lending gap
for small businesses by crowdfunding loans. Just visit
www.kiva.org/littlerock, browse small business owners' profiles and
stories, and choose someone to support with a loan of $25 or more.
"When small businesses do well, local and national economies do well
-- local jobs are created and communities are strengthened," said
Janie Barrera, president and CEO of Accion Texas. "The small business
owners and future entrepreneurs we work with have all the elements of
success except access to capital and training to grow their busin
and realize their dreams. The Accion Texas partnership with Kiva City
Little Rock will enable us to substantially expand our efforts in the
Little Rock area."
"Accion Texas began operations in Arkansas in late 2011 and, to date,
has made nearly half a million dollars in micro- and small business
loans to start-ups and existing small businesses," Barrera said.
Small dollar loans, or "microloans," are essential for small
businesses to accelerate job growth in Little Rock and across the
nation. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA),
small businesses create two out of every three new jobs, employ over
50% of private sector employees and produce more than half of the
country's nonfarm GDP.
"Visa has a long-standing commitment to small business and financial
inclusion. Kiva City brings those together by making it possible for
entrepreneurs to start or grow a business when they might not be able
to otherwise," said William Sheedy, Group President, Americas, Visa
Inc. "For small business owners, Kiva City Little Rock can be the
critical first step in creating jobs and realizing long-term
In the Little Rock region alone, there are more than 69,000 small
businesses that employ nearly 330,000 people. This program provides
loans as small as $500 and as large as $10,000 -- amounts which can
be difficult for some entrepreneurs to access from traditional
lenders due to the loan size or the borrower's lack of commercial
Accion Texas will use its extensive network to identify qualified
small businesses in the Little Rock area that would benefit from a
loan and then post their profiles on Kiva.org. Small business owners
and aspiring entrepreneurs can start the application process at
www.accionarkansas.org. Accion Texas aims to provide loans up to
$10,000 for borrowers, even if they have little to no collateral.
To date, Kiva has launched similar crowdfunded microloan initiatives
in more than 50 cities and towns including Detroit, New Orleans, Los
Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
"This initiative gives everyone a chance to help support local jobs
and businesses in Little Rock," said Premal Shah, President of Kiva.
"Every dollar lent to a small business helps create jobs in local
communities, which in turn supports another local business, and
another. As small businesses grow and expand, local economies
improve, helping to support schools, city services and more vibrant
and sustainable communities."
Several other area groups and individuals are joining Kiva City
Little Rock as Trustees on Kiva Zip. Kiva Zip is a pilot program that
aims to expand the number of entrepreneurs accessing microloans
through Kiva's crowdfunding platform. Trustees are technical
assistance providers, community groups or individuals committed to
supporting social good through entrepreneurship and local job growth.
Through Kiva Zip, Trustees do not have to have their own loan
programs to connect borrowers to Kiva lenders; instead, they endorse
Once endorsed by a Trustee, borrowers can post their loan request at
zip.kiva.org and immediately connect with a growing online community
of lenders who crowdfund their loan. Kiva Zip offers zero percent
interest loans for small business owners and aspiring owners,
starting at $500. To become a Trustee, Lender or Borrower on Kiva
Zip, go to zip.kiva.org.
Kiva is a nonprofit organization working to alleviate
poverty by connecting people around the world through microlending.
With as little as a $25 loan, anyone can help a borrower create new
opportunities for themselves and their family. Together with more
than 870,000 Kiva lenders and a worldwide network of microfinance
institutions, Kiva has created economic opportunity for more than
950,000 borrowers. Since its inception in 2005, Kiva lenders have
funded more than $390 million in loans with a 98.9% repayment rate.
Visit www.kiva.org and zip.kiva.org for more information.
About Accion Texas Inc.
Established in 1994 in San Antonio, Accion
Texas Inc. is a nonprofit financial and business-support services
organization that helps entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses,
stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment and
contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. The
organization began operations in Little Rock in 2011.
Accion Texas manages the nation's largest microloan portfolio and is
committed to providing capital to entrepreneurs who do not have
access to loans from commercial sources. Since its inception, it has
made nearly 13,000 loans totaling more than $143 million. And it
enjoys the highest rating (four stars) awarded by Charity Navigator,
an online charity evaluation database.
A member of the Accion U.S. Network and the Opportunity Finance
Network, Accion Texas has been a Kiva field partner since 2010. It is
a designated community development financial institution, or CDFI.
CDFIs work in neighborhoods across the United States to provide
affordable, responsible credit, create and sustain jobs and to
stabilize communities. In addition, Accion Texas is a regionally
recognized U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 CDC
(Community Development Corporation) and is a designated 7A Communit
Advantage lender with the SBA.
Accion Texas now operates in eight states: Alabama, Arkansas,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. For
more information, visit www.acciontexas.org
About Visa Inc.
Visa is a global payments technology company that
connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and
governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast,
secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the
world's most advanced processing networks -- VisaNet -- that is
capable of handling more than 24,000 transaction messages a second,
with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for
merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit
or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however,
enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more
choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with
credit products. For more information, visit corporate.visa.com.
Kiva Communications Director
Accion Texas Communications Director
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