Meet Kiki Bryant, a Chicago-based entrepreneur who writes and illustrates children’s books. The adventurous star of her stories? Lollipop Lola, a young Black girl being raised by two LGBT+ Black women, who was inspired by Kiki’s own daughter.
“I think that there are a lot of products out there that are heavily utilized by Black users that aren’t necessarily made for us. So it feels good to be creating things that are for us, as opposed to being forced to adapt something that already exists into something for us,” Kiki said.
Kiki recognized that representation of families like hers is rare, so she decided to create a universe for those families “where the adventures don't only center on exploration of Black hair.”
"Don’t get me wrong, that’s really important," Kiki explained. "I understand the value of instilling in young Black girls that their hair is important and beautiful and normal. But, if you’re like me and you’re part of a family that does that already, those kinds of books can sometimes make your child default back to ‘hmm, maybe there is something wrong with my hair.’"
"I just wanted to shift away from that topic, because I was having a problem finding books of little Black girls learning lessons, having fun, and being imaginative. That’s what I wanted to tap into, because I feel like that is as important as the social and political topics being made kid-friendly."
At Kiva, we have one overarching goal: reduce financial exclusion around the world and in our communities. It’s why acknowledging and celebrating moments like Black History Month is vital to who we are—because we see first-hand how often Black business owners are denied the funding that they need.
“I did not expect to be approved [for this loan]!” Kiki said. “So, when I was approved, I was overjoyed. And then when I got funded in an hour? It was like… woah.”
“Usually when it comes to business loans, people want to see that you’re already making like… tens of thousands of billions of dollars. And I am very much a working-class Black woman,” Kiki told Kiva. “I make enough to support myself and my family, I am 100% self-employed, but am I rich? Not by any means. Am I making hundreds of thousands of dollars? Absolutely not. So, I’ve had barriers to traditional funding sources and loans because of it.”
In the U.S., financing approval rates for Black business owners seeking small business loans can be 3x less than white business owners. When applying for loans with traditional lenders, Black entrepreneurs had to produce more documentation, received less information, and got less friendly service than white entrepreneurs.
Lending through Kiva is one way to address systemic inequality towards Black business owners. Celebrate and recognize Black History Month with Kiva by funding Black business owners’ loans.
At Kiva, our loan application review is the same regardless of the applicant’s race or ethnicity. Our interest rates are 0% for our U.S. borrowers and the application process is simple. We’re here to support everyone in achieving their entrepreneurial dreams.
On February 8, we’re matching all loans to U.S. business owners on Kiva. Support Black-owned businesses and celebrate Black History Month with us.
Thank you for celebrating and honoring Black History Month with Kiva this February. But our work doesn’t change based on the date on the calendar. Help us do this work every day by lending.
Are you an entrepreneur looking for greater financial opportunity for your small business? Lenders are ready to fund you. Borrow with Kiva.