Bank of America and Kiva, the world's largest crowdfunding platform for social good, have joined forces to support women’s entrepreneurship through the "Women's Entrepreneurship Fund." The Fund, launched in 2016, matches, dollar-for-dollar, what Kiva’s citizen lenders provide to women entrepreneurs on Kiva.org.
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Bank of America’s leadership commitment of $250,000 enabled the Fund to cross the $1 million dollar milestone and will help Kiva reach a total of $1 billion in loans crowdfunded since their founding in 2005.
“Capital is a vital building block for women entrepreneurs around the world,” said Anne Finucane, Vice Chairman at Bank of America. “We’re honored to be a founding partner of the Kiva Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund as one example of how we deploy our capital to fuel women’s economic growth and build thriving communities.”
Individuals can support women’s entrepreneurship by visiting Kiva.org and choosing who they want to lend $25 or more to, such as a woman in El Salvador planning to grow her agriculture business by hiring more employees. Individual loans of $25 or more are collected until the woman’s full loan request is “crowdfunded.”
On June 13, monies that citizen lenders provide to women on Kiva.org will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Bank of America, up to $250,000. Individual loan requests average $450.
“These citizen lenders joined Kiva with the understanding that sometimes just a little bit of capital can be the bridge between talent and opportunity,” said Premal Shah, Kiva’s President and co-founder. “And when women entrepreneurs cross that bridge, they bring their families, communities and all of us with them. We are deeply appreciative to Bank of America for their support.”
In every corner of the globe, women entrepreneurs are breadwinners, changemakers, and transformational leaders. As their businesses and incomes grow, children’s health and education improve, jobs are created, poverty and hunger is reduced for everyone, and countries become stronger.
Yet, the economic potential of women entrepreneurs globally remains largely untapped. The lack of access to finance is a persistent barrier that limits women’s ability to start or expand their businesses and fully participate in economic, social, and political life. This holds back women, their families, communities, and entire economies.
Since Kiva’s founding in 2005, 2.6 million entrepreneurs from 83 countries have received nearly $1 Billion in loans, each crowdfunded in $25 increments on Kiva.org by a growing global community of 1.6 million citizen lenders.
The Fund supports women entrepreneurs like Lindiwe, a 22-year-old woman living in rural Zimbabwe. Lindiwe received entrepreneurial training from Camfed and a Kiva loan crowdfunded by 11 citizen lenders. Lindiwe now operates 3 businesses in her village — a poultry business, a small shop and a line of juices that she sells to local laborers. The loan helped her scale her juice business from 20 liters per week in sales to 200 liters. Her goal is to hire on employees and to be a role model to show girls what is possible when they persevere in education and work hard.
“I want to go far! I want to create as many employees as I can, especially girls,” said Lindiwe. “Helping girls to stay in school, helping them to achieve what they want in life, that is my favorite part.”
Bank of America’s support of Kiva is part of the company’s broader efforts to advance women’s economic empowerment and reflects its commitment to being a diverse and inclusive company. Through partnerships with Vital Voices, the Cherie Blair Foundation, the Tory Burch Foundation and the Institute for the Economic Empowerment of Women, the bank has connected thousands of women entrepreneurs around the world to mentoring, tools and capital to help grow their businesses.
Source: CSR Wire