It’s officially been two years since Louisville became a Kiva City. Kiva was relatively unknown locally when the first full-time fellow arrived in Louisville, but community response to the new funding tool was overwhelmingly positive.

Louisville is best known for its compassion, but encouragement and selflessness are certainly high on the list as well. Time and time again local organizations and meetups welcomed presentations about the new tool that would create opportunities for economic growth. Organizations and citizens alike were eager to participate through philanthropic loans at 0% interest.

As the months progressed, more local borrowers successfully raised funds on the site. Small farmers, retail shops, startups, food processors, caterers, and personal trainers were accessing capital at 0% interest. Once received, these loans were used to build websites, pay legal fees, buy inventory, inject working capital, and much more. It became apparent both to Kiva and local sponsors that small business owners throughout the region were eager to access crowdfunded capital online, and local citizens were excited to have a new way to directly participate in economic growth. The date was set, and on the Monday prior to Thanksgiving 2014 Louisville launched as the 9th Kiva city in the country!

Kiva Louisville borrower Kiva Louisville borrower

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The life to date impact of Kiva in Louisville is substantial. At the time of this post over $518,000 in loans have been funded and 117 small business owners have applied  on the site. Of those 117 applicants, 48% were female entrepreneurs. A survey of funded borrowers conducted in February of 2016 revealed that respondents were paying an average of $11.31 per hour versus the minimum required wage of $7.75 per hour. Many of the businesses have been able to hire additional employees, and Kentucky has been ranked as high as 4th in the country for number of Kiva loans per capita.

Over $518,000 in loans have been funded and 117 small business owners have applied on the site. Of those 117 applicants, 48% were female entrepreneurs.


Here are some responses from borrowers regarding the impact Kiva has had on their business:

Without Kiva I…

“Wouldn’t be able to own a food truck and advance in my business”

“Would not have be able to have a web presence”

“Wouldn’t have expanded to value added foods”

“Would not have been able to have the funds that a start up company initially needs”

“Would not have been able to turn my satellite business into a brick and mortar”

“May not be in business”

How critical was Kiva?

“After using our Kiva loan on equipment, we moved farms and changed our whole business from growing vegetables to raising livestock and changed our business name”

“We had zero working capital, and our Kiva loan allowed us to spend some money on our basic needs.”

“It provided the money I needed to get my location and purchase furniture, equipment, and other necessities. KIVA was vital to the start of my business.”

Kiva Louisville would not have been possible without a long list of financial supporters. This list has grown over time due to the positive impact Kiva is having throughout our region, and we’re thrilled to be on it ourselves.

Supporters include: The Owsley Brown II Family Foundation, Stock Yards Bank and Trust, The Metro United Way, The James Graham Brown Foundation, Access Ventures, The Horseshoe Foundation, The Ogle Foundation, The Community Foundation of Louisville, Stephen Reily, GlowTouch Technologies, Louisville Forward, The Rotary Club of Louisville, and The Community Foundation of Southern Indiana.

If you’ve yet to make a loan to a local entrepreneur, then you can find out more information at us.kiva.org/louisville. If you are an entrepreneur interested in applying for a Kiva loan, please visit borrow.kiva.org.

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