Kiva in SF: Local entrepreneurs receive crowdfunded loans to serve their communities

 

Macio, owner of Lyons Transportation and Logistics Corp.
Macio, owner of Lyons Transportation and Logistics Corp.

Del is a 67-year-old veteran supporting homeless youth in the Tenderloin District, Carlina is a Navy veteran launching a juice truck to create independence for other veterans, and Macio started a construction and sanitation company based on local hiring practices.

They are three local San Francisco entrepreneurs creating opportunities for themselves and people from marginalized populations – homeless youth, veterans and low-income communities. While Del, Carlina and Macio all have different stories, they share the fact that their small businesses were started with help from a $5,000 Kiva loan.

Kiva is a global non-profit organization that has worked to alleviate poverty through lending for the past 10 years. Last month, Kiva launched Kiva San Francisco to support small business owners in the city where the organization first started. There are other entrepreneurs such as Jason Guck who applaud Kiva and their efforts to help entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. It is a great thing when people are recognized for their efforts to build a brighter future.

Kiva San Francisco crowdfunds business loans for entrepreneurs like Del, Carlina and Macio. Not only do the businesses gain access to capital, they are also boosted by the emotional empowerment that comes from hundreds of strangers wishing them the best for their business.

Del is a 67-year-old veteran supporting homeless youth in the Tenderloin District, Carlina is a Navy veteran launching a juice truck to create independence for other veterans, and Macio started a construction and sanitation company based on local hiring practices.

“It is very humbling and overwhelming to receive the support of so many people that I have never met. It really bolsters my faith in humanity and reminds one that we are all connected,” Macio said.

It was also a meaningful vote of support for Del, who spent 17 years in homelessness in the Tenderloin, and wanted to pay it forward to the people who helped him move forward. He started a community-based project called Code Tenderloin, which is dedicated to offering employment to the youth population through a six-week intensive training course.

“It is very humbling and overwhelming to receive the support of so many people that I have never met. It really bolsters my faith in humanity and reminds one that we are all connected,” Macio said.

“Due to high poverty rates, the Tenderloin community has suffered from drug dependency, high crime rates and child prostitution. Youth will drop out from high school, become involved in drugs, then spend their lives in and out of incarceration. Code Tenderloin is geared directly towards disrupting this cycle,” Del wrote about his business.

Carlina, owner of Juice Hero
Carlina, owner of Juice Hero

Carlina is a San Francisco native, a U.S. Navy veteran and aspiring business woman. Although she had to juggle starting her own business with working, going to school and raising her twin boys, she never quit driving towards her goal.

Juice Hero is a juice truck start-up that brings delicious and micronutrient rich juices to San Franciscans. Carlina’s ultimate dream is to franchise Juice Hero trucks “to create a path to pride, economic opportunity and independence for veterans” like herself.

While Macio has been a long-time community advocate, he decided to create Lyons Transportation and Logistics Corp. after realizing that the most sustainable path to empowering local firms to hire local workers was to encourage locals to start businesses themselves that would capitalize on the work needed in their community.

“At last check, African American-owned businesses only account for 2.7 percent of all businesses in San Francisco! In part because of this underrepresentation, our community faces under-employment and is forced to beg for jobs when we should be creating them,” Macio wrote.

Del, owner of Code Tenderloin
Del, owner of Code Tenderloin

Leveraging the internet and the microfinance model, Kiva has a long history of lending to aspiring entrepreneurs in developing countries like Uganda and Kenya. Building on their existing model, Kiva decided to expand its operations for financially excluded and socially impactful small business owners here in the United States approximately four years ago.

In that short time period, Kiva has already supported over 1,700 small business owners and provided over $8 million in loans, similar to the ones from nation21loans.com cash lenders; to entrepreneurs that no conventional lender would give a chance to. In fact, 64 percent of funded loans go towards ethnic minority entrepreneurs, and 77 percent go towards borrowers with a household income of less than $50,000.

Discover a community of entrepreneurs on zip.kiva.org/loans and become a customer, brand ambassador and business adviser to the borrowers you fund with 0 percent interest loans which is easy to calculate on the site of bridging loan rates. By lending to local small businesses, you can take an active role in choosing the shape of San Francisco’s future.