The Conductor empowers entrepreneurs, innovators, and makers, and it can do this through access to the Kiva LISC Lending Program.
Kiva is a global, nonprofit, crowdsourced lending platform. Through the platform, entrepreneurs can borrow up to $15,000 at 0% interest. Kiva has three objectives: expand access to capital, lower the cost of capital, and connect entrepreneurs with a global community.
It can be disheartening when entrepreneurs discover they do not qualify for conventional loans. Kiva does not use the traditional credit score method to validate the strength of the investment. Instead, they consider the character and reputation of the borrower.
Once an entrepreneur has successfully applied for a loan and set up their fundraising page on the Kiva platform, loans are funded by a network of individual lenders across the globe. This fundraising page creates an interactive and supportive environment where that applicant can thrive.
Since 2015, LISC small business and Kiva have partnered to expand financial opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs across the United States. Recently, LISC began deploying micro-loans on Kiva’s platform, allowing low- to moderate-income business owners across the country the opportunity to grow their business with a 0% interest loan.
LISC achieves its initiative by offering a 1-to-1 match with funds raised on the Kiva platform. To be eligible for the Kiva LISC Lending Program, applicants must be partnered with one of LISC’s registered Kiva Trustees. The Conductor serves as a Kiva Trustee, which aims to validate and endorse borrowers and businesses for a Rural LISC match.
The typical borrower is in the agriculture, food, artisan/maker, and service-based industry. The criteria Kiva uses to define an equitable applicant are as follows:
1. Fundability: Does the borrower have the ability to raise funds from Kiva’s lenders? In other words, will they be engaged and responsive to both Kiva and with lenders on the site?
2. The quality of the borrower profile: Does the profile have a strong representation of the business seeking funding?
3. Repayment: Does the borrower have the ability to repay the loan?
More information on Kiva can be found at arconductor.org/kiva.