(Norwalk, Conn.) Today, August 26, 2022, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling announced the launch of the City’s first-ever Kiva Hub through its partnership with Kiva. Kiva is a global nonprofit organization that provides interest-free crowdfunded microloans to local entrepreneurs. The Norwalk Kiva Hub is designed to connect local entrepreneurs who don’t typically receive funding from traditional lenders with access to capital through Kiva’s unique network of microlenders. Kiva works with more than 70 countries on five continents. Since 2005, the nonprofit has provided more than 1.9 million loans equaling $1.6 billion in funding. More than 80 percent of loans have been to women.
The City is committed to the development, retention and growth of small businesses within Norwalk, along with job retention and new employment opportunities. Of the $8.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding committed to Economic and Community Development, over $3.7 million is focused on small businesses, specifically women and minority-owned business entities. Investing in the City’s first-ever Kiva Hub is one of several initiatives that focus within our Economic and Community Development strategic plan to support small businesses.
“Small businesses are the economic engine of our City and add to Norwalk’s incredible vibrancy," said Mayor Harry W. Rilling. "They employ hardworking people and we are always looking for new ways to help our small business community succeed. Through Norwalk’s new partnership with Kiva, many entrepreneurs and small business owners will have an alternative way to access capital and new local resources to help them start, operate, and expand their businesses.”
Kiva’s network of microlenders creates the first step for small businesses to move up the capital ladder. The Norwalk Kiva Hub allows entrepreneurs who may have been previously denied access to a loan an alternative way to access capital. Through the City of Norwalk’s new Kiva Hub, local businesses can access between $1,000 to $15,000 at 0% interest. The City of Norwalk will also match Women and Minority-Owned Businesses up to 50% of their Kiva-approved loan, up to $7,500. The City recently opened up the Norwalk Kiva Hub office, located at 3 Belden Ave., Norwalk, CT, where entrepreneurs can get direct assistance with their businesses.
The City of Norwalk received a $15,000 grant from the National League of Cities to support the launch of the Norwalk Kiva Hub. Anyone can help support and grow small businesses, including those in Norwalk, through the Kiva partnership. They can also help promote local job creation by visiting Kiva.org and choosing a local entrepreneur they want to support with a loan of $25 or more. Entrepreneurs apply directly to Kiva’s U.S. site to fundraise on the platform and are connected to millions of Kiva lenders. It also enables local lenders to make direct loans to entrepreneurs in their neighborhoods. The Kiva partnership will span a minimum of three years and is in addition to the plethora of programming that the City has to offer, including but not limited to, the Storefront Improvement Grant Program, COVID-19 Assistance Grants, the Norwalk Microgrant Program, and the Enterprise Zone tax benefit for manufacturers.
Kiva is a global nonprofit, founded in 2005, with a mission to expand financial access and help underserved communities thrive. Kiva unlocks capital for borrowers through crowdfunded loans supported by individuals around the world. With as little as $25, you can support entrepreneurs and small business owners in communities across the country and globe with critical access to funding. Over two million people have invested $1.7 billion in real dreams and real opportunity, spanning more than 70 countries and 4.2 million borrowers.