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What is Kiva?

Yolanda is the owner for Pollinate Farme and Garden in Oakland. She used her loan to impore the store's exterior visability and breand identity. Pollinate has become a trusted community resource and a hub for learning about urban farming and all aspects DIY food.


At Kiva, we believe in character over credit and the power of community-based lending.  We provide crowdfunding opportunities for entrepreneurs where conventional lenders won’t.

Kiva is for any entrepreneur who can use a 0% interest loan to help take his or her business to the next level.  Because we don't base our loan approval solely on financial data about you or your business, it’s our goal to accept as many people as we can who are serious about their business and our crowdfunding program.  Whether you’re in the idea phase, start-up mode, or an established business, Kiva could be a great option for you and your business.

Entrepreneurs can raise money for your business purpose -- working capital, equipment, inventory, marketing, or project-based investments are all ways you can leverage a Kiva loan to help your business grow. This is an opportunity to grow your business and create social impact. Our borrowers have taken out more than 4,500 loans and raised over $25 million on Kiva in the U.S. since 2011.


How Kiva is different from our competitors:

  1. Borrow between $1,000-10,000 at 0% interest

  2. Free marketing and new customers

  3. Loan approval does not require a minimum credit score


What is the difference between Crowdfunding and Fundraising?

Crowdfunding vs. Fundraising

Fundraising - where an entrepreneur or business owner seeks financial support for a variety of reasons. These reasons can be anything from wanting to hire more staff or renew equipment, to take the business to the next level. This is most often done by meeting up at a bank in person, meeting with a corporate or a VC for your startup, and pitching to them.

Crowdfunding - where you fund your project by raising money from a wide variety of individuals. This is done on an online platform with a community of individuals that wants to help. With crowdfunding, it is easier to brand and market your business, since the individuals who wants to help can also promote your business for you. This is what we do here at Kiva.

What’s the benefit of crowdfunding?

People want to help, and at Kiva anyone can contribute with $25 to support your 0% interest loan. With more people, funding the loan is easier, more people will see and start talking about your business, and you receive input, comments, and ideas to help your business. 

Want to know more about crowdfunding on Kiva? Click here.


How does it all work?

To be a successful borrower, it is important to stay focused, optimistic and know we want your business to flourish.

The steps of crowdfunding with Kiva are:


Filling out the application takes about 20-30 minutes. You can see if you qualify and easily fill out our online application here.

Want to know more about applying? Click here.

Private Funding

This takes up to 15 days. Your profile is open only to your friends, family, and other members of your community. Each loan acts as a character reference for you and your business. Because of this it is important to encourage your community to lend to you. $25 is the minimum amount anyone can lend and remember, it is a loan, not a donation.

Public Funding

Your loan profile on the Kiva site goes public. Now everyone can see your loan, read about your business, and lend. This section takes up to 30 days, therefore it will be important to use your social network to create awareness about your business.


This takes up to 36 months. Build your business and customer base, by repaying your Kiva loan.

Want to know more about the repayment process? Click here.


Wondering if a Kiva loan is right for your business? Click here.

About the author

Kathinka K. Nakstad

Kathinka moved to San Francisco to pursue her BBA degree, with a major in marketing. Being form Norway, she time to time misses the different seasons (especially winters with snow). One of her hobbies consists of finding a part of a city and explore it for a whole day. Checking out cool boutiques, and the best places to eat. Two of her favorite places to visit are Budapest and Vienna. No wonder her dream job would be to travel the world and write about the places she visits.