When I was first assigned to Newark for my Kiva fellowship, I didn’t know what to expect. I live in Manhattan and up until that point the only time I had been to Newark was to go to the airport. My first introduction to the real Newark was through a group of local organizations that serve as trustees with Kiva Zip. Kiva Zip trustees are responsible for sourcing Kiva Zip borrowers, reviewing their business and personal finances, vouching for their character, and publicly endorsing them on the Kiva Zip website.
I met with a number of trustees in my first couple of weeks as a fellow and I was stunned by the generosity shown by all of the staff in welcoming me to the city. I realized quickly that there is a deep sense of community within Newark and all of the organizations associated with Kiva Zip are both well connected to and supportive of each other.
Our trustees represent a wide variety of organizations with varying services, however, a mission to support Newark’s growth through the innovation of entrepreneurs unites them all. In a city that rarely receives positive press, I was happily surprised to see a burgeoning start-up and small business community and realized that the assistance that our trustees provide to these entrepreneurs is invaluable.
A borrower once told me that the trustees are “bridging a very big gap” and as I learned more, I saw how true this was. Many of the entrepreneurs I met had struggled financially for a long time and were only further disheartened when they brought their innovative business ideas to banks and other financial institutions, only to be turned away for the loans. Here is where our trustees come in: providing support in the form of technical assistance, trainings, credit builder programs, business consulting, and perhaps most importantly, through a boost in confidence. By partnering with Kiva Zip, they are able to be even more impactful as they can pair their programs with accessible, affordable capital.
The relationship between an entrepreneur and their trustee is one that lasts well beyond the disbursal of the Kiva Zip loan and every Kiva Zip borrower I have ever talked to has expressed their profound gratitude for their trustee organization. In Newark where often the challenges faced in creating or expanding a business are great, I am confident that the powerful (and growing!) network of Kiva Zip trustees will serve to create a strong foundation for a vibrant and thriving small business community and economic future in Newark.
Here is a list of our trustees in Newark that have endorsed Kiva Zip entrepreneurs:
Forward Ever Sustainable Business Alliance
The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership
Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation
The Intersect Fund
The Phat Startup
Jalima & Associates
Rising Tide Capital
For more information on our trustees or how to become an involved as a Kiva Zip trustee, click here.
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Sara was born and raised in Lexington, Massachusetts and graduated with her BA in International Affairs and Spanish from The University of New Hampshire. Starting with an exchange trip to Costa Rica in high school, Sara fell in love with traveling and has since spent time in Central and South America, Europe and Southeast Asia. After graduating from college, Sara worked for four years at EF Foundation for Foreign Study, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting international education and fostering cultural awareness through student exchange. Currently living in New York City and studying at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, Sara plans to pursue a career in international development with a focus on the alleviation of poverty through the innovation and creativity of affected individuals and communities. She is thrilled to be working as a Kiva Zip Fellow this summer and looks forward to contributing to the success of this new initiative.