Best Practices

ARKSourceLink: Kiva Supporting Small Businesses

Published Dec 30, 2013
By: Mitchell Adams, Student at the Clinton School of Public Service and Kiva Fellow 

Kiva has operated since 2005 with the purpose of funding entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world with crowd-funded, zero-interest loans. During this time, Kiva has funded over one million borrowers located throughout 72 countries. In 2011, Kiva launched Kiva Zip with the intent of applying its successful model to the United States. In 2012, Kiva Zip came to Arkansas.

Though Kiva Zip only recently made its way to the state of Arkansas, the impact of its presence has already been felt deeply by the state's entrepreneurial community. Kiva Zip's crowd-funded, zero-interest loans have helped to support a wide array of Arkansans looking for financial support. Borrowers have come from wide range of different occupations in Arkansas, including farmers, artists, authors, restaurant owners, and many more.

The Kiva Zip model was built to help individuals that have great passion and who have built community trust, but who are often underserved by traditional funding options. Those who are looking to start, or expand, a small business, can use Kiva Zip to help raise up to $5,000 dollars in the form a zero interest loan. These loans can be used for any business expense, and are completely fund-raised by individuals online. 

In order to gain access to Kiva Zip, a borrower must have a trustee. A trustee is an individual, or organization, that acts as a character voucher for borrowers on the Kiva Zip site. Trustees have no financial or legal liability for the borrower. The relationship between a trustee and a borrower is very important as it shows others on the site that there is already community trust behind a borrower. Finally, in order for Kiva Zip to work, there have to be individuals willing to invest in the borrowers on our site. Lenders are able to support entrepreneurs in their local community as well as their state, nation, and even internationally. Lending on Kiva Zip gives the ability to participate in the growth of a small business, and money lent over the site is repaid back to the lender over time! While many of the lenders on the site are individuals, there are also many who form lending groups based out of their school, church, etc.

Although this post has focused on Arkansas, Kiva Zip is open to entrepreneurs all over the United States of America. As long as a borrower-to-trustee relationship can be formed, there will be the opportunity for individuals to apply for a loan through the site. Kiva Zip has already posted loans from many states and welcomes borrowers, trustees, and lenders from every corner of the country.

If you are interested in having a conversation about borrowing, becoming a trustee, or getting involved with Kiva Zip in another way, please contact Mitchell Adams at For general information on Kiva Zip visit the website at

Content contributed by Aaron Harris, ARKSourceLink. ARKSourceLink is a proud affiliate of U.S. SourceLink, America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.