SOURCE: Kiva.org

Kiva.org

July 15, 2013 08:00 ET

Mayor Cory A. Booker Launches Kiva City Newark to Bolster Small Business Growth

Partnership Between Kiva, The Intersect Fund, Rita Allen Foundation and Other Local Groups Provides Crowdfunded Loans to Small Business Owners and Aspiring Entrepreneurs

NEWARK, NJ--(Marketwired - Jul 15, 2013) - Today, Mayor Cory A. Booker announced the launch of Kiva City Newark, an initiative that brings crowdfunded loans to entrepreneurs struggling to find capital they need to start or expand their small businesses. Through Kiva City Newark, anyone who believes in small business growth and local job creation can lend $25 to an entrepreneur of their choice at kiva.org/newark. The initiative is a partnership between Kiva, The Intersect Fund, Rita Allen Foundation and other local groups advancing community revitalization through entrepreneurship.

"Kiva City Newark gives everyone a chance to help support local jobs and businesses," said Mayor Cory A. Booker. "When you help to crowdfund a loan to a small business you are creating 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."

Crowdfunded loans fill a critical lending gap faced by entrepreneurs whose businesses are too young, too small or too innovative to receive loans from traditional lenders. Small businesses create two-thirds of all new jobs and if just one in three small businesses could hire one more person, the U.S. would be at full employment.

"Kiva City Newark offers an opportunity to connect Intersect Fund borrowers with people all over the world," said Rohan Mathew, president and CEO of The Intersect Fund, which opened its Newark headquarters at 59 Lincoln Park today. "The Intersect Fund is proud to invest in the entrepreneurial spirit that already exists in Newark's thriving business community."

Visitors to www.kiva.org/newark can browse entrepreneurs' profiles and stories and choose one to support with a loan of $25 or more. The amount you lend helps to crowdfund a loan to that entrepreneur and when the entrepreneur successfully repays, you can choose to lend that $25 to another person or withdraw your money from the system. Every dollar lent to an entrepreneur in New Jersey will be matched by the Rita Allen Foundation, up to a total of $50,000.

"Crowdfunding small business loans gives each of us a chance to support thriving local economies, communities and jobs," said Premal Shah, President of Kiva. "If the money stored in our wallets was given a new life for a short amount of time, as a loan to a small business owner, each of us could help to shape the course and success of the economy. A single loan, a single business or a single job can help change the trajectory of families, communities, and cities."

Kiva is the world's first and largest crowdfunding platform for social good with 950,000 people crowdfunding 1 million entrepreneurs in 65 countries. Newark joins similar Kiva initiatives in Los Angeles, Detroit, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. This is the largest Kiva City launch to date, with 30 businesses raising more than $150,000 on launch day.

The Intersect Fund is the leading microlender in New Jersey, providing financing to more than 300 businesses in low-income New Jersey communities over the last two years in amounts ranging from $300 to $25,0000. Through this partnership, The Intersect Fund will post more than 100 business loans on Kiva over the next year, allowing the Fund to raise much-needed capital to deploy to budding entrepreneurs. To apply for a Kiva City loan from The Intersect Fund, visit www.intersectfund.org.

Several other area organizations are joining Kiva City Newark as Trustees on Kiva Zip. Kiva Zip is a new program of Kiva that allows individuals and organizations to become Trustees and publicly vouch for entrepreneurs that they know and trust in their community. Trustees in the Newark area include the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation, Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Rising Tide Capital, and Jalima & Associates.

Once endorsed by a Trustee, borrowers can post their loan request at zip.kiva.org and begin getting their loan crowdfunded by friends, community members and Kiva's growing global community of 950,000 lenders. When the entrepreneur successfully pays back, they too can become a Trustee on Kiva Zip and "pay it forward" by endorsing other small business entrepreneurs in their trust network.

"Kiva City Newark is made possible by a generous donation from the Rita Allen Foundation," said Shah. "Their support of transformative ideas and breakthrough solutions is building stronger communities throughout New Jersey."

To become a Trustee, Lender or Borrower for Kiva City Newark, visit www.kiva.org/newark.

About Intersect Fund
The Intersect Fund is a rapidly growing, nonprofit microlender that equips the least fortunate with the skills and capital to develop successful businesses, generate income and build assets. Conceived in a dorm room and started with just $1,000 in seed capital, The Intersect Fund disbursed its first loan in 2009 and has subsequently made more than $850,000 in microloans to small business owners. The Intersect Fund has also helped more than 1,500 entrepreneurs register their businesses, manage cash flow, find new customers and develop marketing strategies. www.intersectfund.org

About Rita Allen Foundation
Rita Allen Foundation invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. Established in 1953, it is based in Princeton, New Jersey, and has provided major grants to more than 100 biomedical Scholars, many of whom have made important advances with their research. The Foundation's areas of active investment now include promoting civic literacy and engagement, building stronger communities, and supporting young leaders in the sciences and social innovation. www.ritaallen.org

About Kiva.org
Kiva is the world's first and largest crowdfunding platform for social good. Their goal is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty and expand economic opportunity. Since 2005, Kiva and their growing global community of 950,000 lenders have crowdfunded more than $450 million in microloans to over 1 million entrepreneurs in 65 countries, with a 98.9% repayment rate. www.kiva.org

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