The power of connections

During my fellowship I’ve met so many inspiring, creative and wonderful entrepreneurs. I’ve been amazed by the devotion and commitment of our trustees, that are working so hard to help make our entrepreneurs' dreams come true.

During my fellowship I’ve also made one particularly meaningful connection – I’ve met Norman. Norman is a double borrower with Kiva Zip and he has used his Kiva Zip loans to stock up the inventory of his Ship’s Store to sell more of the handicrafts and artistry products of the artists he features in his store. Norman has also mentored one of his artists, Jonah, to apply for a Kiva Zip loan and it was a real success to see Jonah fundraise so quickly!

Norman at his Ship's Store in Sausalito

I’ve met Norman for the first time when I was checking in on Jonah during his preparations for his Kiva Zip loan. Coming to this new city, it was such a great experience to meet someone who was welcoming me so warmly in my new territory and who is such a great believer in the Kiva Zip model! During my first visit at his Ship’s Store he proudly showed me around and I didn’t miss the many Kiva Zip signs and logos that are distributed all over his store. At latest, when Norman saw my green Kiva Zip t-shirt and strongly insisted on receiving one himself I knew he was serious!

Last week, Norman hosted a fun event to celebrate Earth Day at his Ship’s Store – of course Kiva Zip was invited. Also other Kiva Zip fans, Norman’s trustee Gary and borrowers like Abraham (needless to say that Norman also supported Abraham with his Kiva Zip loan) joined and it was great joy to celebrate Earth Day together and to mingle with our small Kiva Zip community.

Kiva Zip community

Attractions like solar cooking and traditional Caribbean tunes engaged the crowds and it was overall a wonderful community feeling!
Earth Day celebration

Norman is a great embassador and has continually reached out to the Kiva Zip team with his great ideas on how to develop and expand the Kiva Zip model. I am so proud to have met this inspiring entrepreneur and supporter and I’m excited to grow our Kiva Zip community together – during my time as a fellow and beyond.

About the author

Ramona Heim

Ramona was born in Germany, where she studied and worked in the fields of accounting, finance and sustainability consulting. Driven by her passion to live abroad from an early age, Ramona studied in Australia, Canada, the USA, and just finished her Master’s degree in Organizational Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. Having researched the practice of social sustainability in her Master’s thesis, Ramona is convinced that innovation and empowerment are crucial factors for development. Ramona is excited to serve as a fellow for Kiva Zip in the Bay Area and to deepen her interest in microfinance and social entrepreneurship. Her previous volunteering experiences in Brazil and Nepal have taught Ramona the value and joy of empowering small entrepreneurs and she is grateful to experience the mission of microfinance from a new perspective. In her downtime, Ramona loves to explore the continents, study new languages, and to lose her breath outdoor and indoor cycling.