Oct 27, 2021

Startup Junkie Foundation Continues to Offer Access to the Kiva No-fee, No-Interest Loan Program for Northwest Arkansas Small Businesses for COVID 19 Relief and Startups

$190,000 in Matching Loans Available for Relief for Hard-Hit Businesses and New Startup Business Endeavors

Startup Junkie Foundation will continue its Kiva loan program assistance offerings in Northwest Arkansas to help small business owners access much-needed capital during the continued COVID-19 crisis and to assist future entrepreneurs wanting to launch new businesses due to changes in their work lives and endeavors. The program will now provide an additional $190,000 in matching no-fee, no-interest loan funds for every new, approved small business borrower in Washington and Benton counties. Approved borrowers looking for capital to react to or recover from the COVID-19 crisis or launch new businesses will be able to have up to 50% percent of their Kiva approved loan offering matched by these funds. The continued match fund is supported through a fund from the Walton Family Foundation to Kiva US located in San Francisco, California. 

“Since the launch of the Kiva NWA Hub in December of 2019, we have assisted 54 NWA borrowers with obtaining Kiva crowdfunded loans ranging from $3,000 to $15,000.00. Fifty of those 54 loans have been borrowers who identify as a minority or a woman business owner,” said Martha Londagin, Kiva NWA Hub Capital Access Manager. 

Small business owners interested in applying for a crowdfunded Kiva loan should contact Martha Londagin at fayetteville@local.kiva.org or (479) 276-7096 for free assistance with the online loan application. 

Back in December of 2019, the Startup Junkie Foundation launched the state’s first official Kiva Hub in Northwest Arkansas. The hub is a local resource center by which entrepreneurs and small business owners can access the Kiva platform at kiva.org to obtain no-fee, no-interest microloans of up to $15,000 from a community of local and national lenders. These resources were made possible with funding from the Walton Family Foundation, which included an original dollar-for-dollar matching loan fund for borrowers in Washington and Benton counties to help them reach their approved loan goal faster. 

From April of 2020 to April of 2021, this fund was also expanded to offer a 75 percent match fund for early COVID-19 pandemic relief. This latest fund launched in October of 2021 will assist the Kiva NWA Hub with helping NWA borrowers continue to fund faster on the kiva.org international platform through September of 2022, or until the latest Walton Family Foundation matching loan fund account is fully disbursed. 

Loans through the Kiva platform require 5 to 40 (depending upon the loan amount approved by Kiva) initial, private community loans of as little as $25 each, from customers, or friends and family of the borrower before launching to the national community of lenders. These private local loans are the “community collateral” of the borrower vouching for support of the entrepreneur. All Kiva lenders are repaid the loans from the borrower via the Kiva repayment system using PayPal. PayPal donates its use for free to Kiva, an internationally respected 501 c3 non-profit entity.

The Kiva U.S. loan program currently offers:

· Mission Focused Eligibility: More women, minority, LGBTQ+, veteran, or other disadvantaged entrepreneurs in the U.S. are eligible for a Kiva loan for business needs due to Kiva’s non-profit mission to serve historically disadvantaged borrowers. 

· Loan Sizes: The maximum loan offering on the Kiva platform is up to $15,000 for existing businesses, and loans ranging from $1,000-$5,000 on average for startup businesses. 

· Regular Terms: All the crowd funded loans are at a 0% interest rate with no fees charged due to Kiva being a nonprofit, online, public, crowdfunding entity. PayPal is required to be used by lenders and borrowers as its services are donated at no charge to Kiva because Kiva is a non-profit entity. Monthly repayment terms are 12-36 months depending upon the loan amount approved. 

· Visit https://www.kiva-nwa.org/ for information about the local NWA Hub.

· Visit https://www.kiva.org/ for information on the overall international Kiva and Kiva US programs.


Each business that applies must be able to provide some basic business proof documents, such as a business bank account statement, business license, LLC incorporation documents, or a county dba certificate copy for a sole proprietor, unincorporated business. 

“We have already seen the impact this program can have on NWA small business owners since 2019,” said Londagin. “These are truly loans that change lives. I believe we can make a difference in our small business community with the Kiva program during this time of continued uncertainty.” 

The repayment rate for Kiva loan borrowers is approximately 78 percent in the U.S. Through the Kiva NWA Hub, the Startup Junkie Foundation provides consulting and technical assistance to borrowers and small business owners, including assistance with the Kiva online application process, working with them step-by-step to increase the likelihood of Kiva loan raising approval. While borrowers can seek loan approval through Kiva without going through the Hub, having a local partner like the Startup Junkie Foundation and the Kiva Capital Access Manager (CAM) increases the likelihood of success for local entrepreneurs and business owners.