- Lisa, Kuli Kuli
I've been a Kiva lender and admirer for a long time. When I found out that Kiva had started to lend to US entrepreneurs, I applied for funding as soon I could. At the time I had just quit my day job to go full-time on Kuli Kuli, my food business inspired by my time in the Peace Corps. While I was in Peace Corps Niger, I had begun working with an amazing green superfood called moringa.
Upon returning to the US, I wanted to find a way to continue to support West African women by helping them sell some of their moringa in the US. I recruited a few talented friends to be my co-founders and started testing out moringa products in my local farmers market.
We received our first Kiva loan three months after launching onto the market. It was perfect timing -- we had just done our first manufacturing run and needed capital to attend the largest trade show in the natural food industry and introduce our Moringa Superfood Bars to the market.
The trade show went well, and we grew quickly, getting into 200 stores in our first year. Kiva grew with us, offering us a $10,000 loan after we had paid off our first loan. We used the loan to develop a second product, our Pure Moringa Powder, which ended up being even more successful than our bars.
We've grown quickly, with our wonderful Kiva community cheering us on the whole time. Kuli Kuli's sustainably-sourced moringa products are now sold over 3,000 stores nationwide, and we just celebrated our first quarter of profitability.
Kiva U.S. Stories is a space to share and enjoy the moving, the funny, the inspiring, stories that come from every corner of the Kiva U.S. community.