Kiva Zip – Shannon Kossick
Engaging the power of the crowd.
Founded in 2005, Kiva is a non-profit organization focused on connecting Borrowers with Lenders from around the world to alleviate poverty. Borrowers share their personal stories and portraits on the organization’s website to raise funds for personal, commercial and educational needs; people from around the globe can then loan to the Borrowers that resonate most with them. The organization partners with on-the-ground institutions to administer these loans globally. To date, about $700 million has been fundraised by 1.2 million Lenders to benefit over 1 million Borrowers in 86 countries.
In 2011, the organization launched a pilot program called Kiva Zip. Kiva Zip connects financially excluded and socially impactful domestic small business owners with peer-to-peer, 0% interest loans of up to $5K ($10K for agricultural loans). The program does not take into account traditional financial measures such as credit, collateral or and/or cash flows to determine suitability for a loan but rather the character of the individual him or herself. The business loan of the Borrower is crowdfunded by global Lenders that have the potential to become customers and brand ambassadors. To date, over 1,000 small businesses in the United States have been impacted by over $4.6 million in microloans.
In February 2015 and post vacating her full-time job, Shannon Kossick moved from San Francisco to Denver and has since been entrenched in Colorado’s entrepreneurial scene, striving to impart the knowledge of the Kiva Zip program to potential beneficiaries in the state. She continues to network with small business owners and organizations serving the same to share this resource as well as is presently assisting Borrowers through the process of fundraising a loan on the Kiva Zip platform. A handful of organizations in the state have already formally partnered with Kiva Zip, and she is working with each to endorse Borrowers with the potential to be solid candidates for the program. Michael is one such example.
After multiple years of hospitality management and sourcing food globally, Michael determined that there was a better way to source quality food locally through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). In 2011, Michael took that belief one step further and became the source, creating Kilt Farm in Boulder. He recently raised and is now paying back a loan of $10,000 that was crowdfunded from 275 Lenders in countries such as Taiwan, Australia, Canada, Indonesia and Germany to purchase a tractor to service his 15-acre organic farm. Here’s what Michael had to say to his Lenders: “I am blown away by the support from Australia to Europe and so many places in-between. Thank you all for helping my farm become more productive, efficient and able to feed so many more people this year! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
Shannon’s hope is to eventually make the Kiva Zip program self-sustainable in Colorado so that it may continue to serve underserved local entrepreneurs that are focused on positive social impact within their community.
Do you know someone that could benefit from a Kiva Zip loan or an organization working with entrepreneurs? Are you interested in becoming a Kiva Zip Lender? Curious to learn why Shannon is taking a hiatus from her career and volunteering her time for such a cause? This is why. Kiva is why.