What is Kiva?

Photo credit: Slava Bowman

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 look at extensive 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. You can borrow between $1,000-10,000 at 0% interest

  2. Free marketing and new customers

  3. No credit score or credit history needed

  4. Opportunity to build up your business credit

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 here (add link), and easily fill out our online application here (add link).

Private Funding

This takes up to 15 days. Your profile is open only for your friends, family, and other members of your community. Each loan acts as a character reference of you and your business. so it is important to encourage your community to lend to you. $25 is the minimum amount anyone can lend and remember, it’s 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 invest. 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 credit and customer base by repaying your Kiva loan.

Want to know more about how Crowdfunding with Kiva works? Click here

About the author

Kathinka Nakstad