Even the best leaders need buy-in from their team to make a great idea work. Kiva is a powerful platform, but it’s only effective to the extent that a community uses it as a tool to leverage capital and access. When people come together to talk about, explore and use Kiva, it becomes integrated into the fabric of a regional economy such that it’s a normative part of the entrepreneurial process. Without that buy-in, particularly in more rural areas without a population of early adopters, Kiva will remain the enclave of third-world countries and in-the-know urbanites.
After the launch of Kiva Louisville in November 2014, Access Ventures realized the need for a more developed playbook on launching a successful community. By shifting from external leadership and funding to local leadership and funding, Access Ventures was able to create a much more agile model in which a larger portion of launch-generated funding went to local entrepreneurs. More importantly, the new model established a process that supported ongoing buy-in from the local community, who inevitably is best suited to manage regional Kiva efforts in the long run.
As of September 2018, the efforts of this playbook across three regions (Louisville, Columbus, & Tulsa) has resulted in:
Download the playbook above and explore the other playbook videos to learn more.
Kiva communities experience between 7 and 10 times the impact on an economy, in a shorter period of time, than individual borrowers finding Kiva online on their own.
We’ve heard it said that there’s always a story behind the story. If nothing else, that is certainly true of Kiva communities. On the surface, a Kiva community is about creating a more vibrant and successful economy with more capital access and more business growth. But that’s just the story. The story behind the story is that Kiva communities create more opportunities for individuals to find joy and fulfillment in their work; that Kiva allows people of all backgrounds to experience ownership over businesses and projects; and that Kiva opens the doors a little wider to let entire communities participate in their neighbor’s successes.
At Access Ventures, our team has found Kiva communities to be a significant engine for social change in neighborhoods across the United States. Our hope is that as champions rise up to start Kiva communities, the transformation we are witnessing in a handful of cities becomes a larger momentum for empowerment and inclusivity.