February 11, 2022

Hannibal, MO – Maria Kuhns of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council has announced today a partnership with Kiva, an international nonprofit and the Local Initiatives Support Coop (LISC) to bring a microlending option to rural entrepreneurs in Northeast Missouri.

Kiva is the world’s first personal micro-lending website, enabling everyday people to pool small lending contributions to entrepreneurs across the globe. Kiva loans are character-based, do not require collateral, are 1-to-3-year loan terms, and be up to $15,000 in amount. All loans are distributed and repaid through PayPal.

HREDC has been approved as a Kiva Trustee allowing them to endorse borrowers who work with HREDC’s Small Business Development Center to apply for the loan. Because of HREDC’s trustee status, endorsed loans are eligible for a dollar-to-dollar match from LISC.

HREDC learned about Kiva through a Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance (DCTA) Grant that provides support the City of Hannibal and its partners. HREDC Executive Director, Corey Mehaffy felt that Kiva microloans would be a good option for start-ups and businesses who have nontraditional borrowing projects or require a small capital injection to kickstart their project.

HREDC’s Entrepreneurship Specialist, Maria Kuhns oversees the Small Business Development Center at HREDC. She was excited to learn about the project because she often works with local entrepreneurs whose projects don’t fit a traditional commercial loan situation. “Not everyone has access to collateral or have had situations in the past that have affected their credit. Kiva allows them the opportunity to borrow small amounts to test their idea.”

Part of the requirements of being a Kiva borrower include a two-week period of opening your project to friends and family first before taking your project public. By engaging friends and family, borrowers can share their project with those who want to help them succeed.

Beth Haskovec of LISC has been instrumental in bringing Kiva to Northeast Missouri. Beth has seen microloans positively impact other rural communities. “Microfinance tools, like KIVA, are critical in bringing much needed capital to Rural communities to start and expand businesses.  KIVA is extremely user friendly, and assists businesses in building a network of supporters invested in helping them reach their business goals. Rural LISC is thrilled to be partnering with HREDC to bring LISC matching dollars to their borrowers.”

For more information on Kiva microloans and if they are a good fit for your project, contact Maria Kuhns at sbdc@hredc.com or visit our website.

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