Mayor Michael Tubbs, the youngest and first African-American mayor of Stockton, has facilitated a relationship that will benefit local business owners and entrepreneurs.
Partnering with Kiva, a microfinance non-profit organization, he is holding workshops and teaching businesses how to apply and qualify for interest-free loans. Kiva is an international non-profit founded in 2005, based in San Francisco.
Working together to develop a plan for loan options for businesses, Tubbs has presented community members with a plan. He’s sent out mailers saying, “Please take advantage of this interest-free loan from Kiva.”
In early August, Kiva met with local business owners and entrepreneurs to describe the community-backed loans and explain that up to $10,000 can be borrowed, interest-free, with no fee. Kiva explained how to qualify for the loans.
The loans are an innovative “crowd-funded” effort, and Kiva guides businesses through the application process. A PayPal account is required to disburse funds through an online site, and businesses and entrepreneurs are asked to spread the word on the crowd-funding to friends and family, before the effort goes to the public.
The “buy-in” is participation and everyone is asked to participate.
Kiva is an international organization with a network of about 1.5 million lenders. Huddle Cowork, where the workshop was held, is part of the network, and their Executive Director, Matt Amen, is enthusiastic for Stockton to participate. Amen already encourages entrepreneurs in his building to use the Kiva resource.
“The mayor reached out to us to host an event,” he said. “This is something I would love to have throughout the year.” Mayor Tubbs agrees.
Loans are available to both new and established businesses, and are granted to develop business ideas as well.
“We are just regular people who have good ideas and Kiva can help us make those ideas a reality,” Tubbs said.
For more information, go to: kiva.org, or email Mayor Tubbs at firstname.lastname@example.org.