Community development partners across Southwest Virginia are piloting the use of the Kiva crowdfunding loan platform to help small businesses expand and add jobs. Opportunity SWVA, the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem collaborative identified five businesses in need of small loans. Over the next two weeks, the businesses are working to raise a total of $43,000 in new capital.
Begun in 2005, Kiva is primarily known for global work connecting people to capital to alleviate poverty. With loans as small as $25, individuals can put critical resources in the hands of emerging entrepreneurs.
Opportunity SWVA, comprised of more than 25 small business development support organizations, is working with businesses that have participated in community business launches or have an ongoing relationship with a partner organization. Opportunity SWVA acts as a Kiva Trustee, attesting to the character of the potential borrower.
The five pilot businesses are all creating jobs with loans of up to $10,000. Several directly support regional and community transformation strategies.
- St. Paul Main Street business Sugar Hill Brewing Company is seeking a loan to purchase a food truck.
- Glade Spring design house and manufacturer Garic Stephens is purchasing sewing equipment to hire additional workers.
- Architectural steel detailing firm Appalachian Drafting is purchasing a software license to put an additional person to work creating 3D holograms of buildings.
- In Norton, All Indoor Farm Store is expanding to create Stone Mountain Adventures, a business-diversification strategy supporting the outdoor recreation economy.
- Advenuture Mendota is purchasing new kayaks to grow the capacity of the four-year-old outfitter, which began as a revitalization strategy in the Washington County community of Mendota.
Want to learn more about how Kiva works? Try it out! Support one of the SWVA loans. Then, as your region or community plans its own Kiva strategy, the Opportunity SWVA team will be happy to share with you what they learned.
Make a loan and watch videos of the entrepreneurs.
Track progress of Opportunity SWVA on Facebook.
Get all of the Opportunity SWVA Kiva tools at www.opportunityswva.org/kiva.