Crowdfunding site hits one million loans with help from Canada

    Crowdfunding platform Kiva, which offers microloans and focuses on the ”social good,” said Monday that it has hit the one million mark – over one million people in 65 countries have received over US$400 million in Microloans from Kiva members.

    In its first year, Kiva’s lenders finances nearly $500,000 in loans, and now 900,000 lenders crowdfund more than $1.5 million in loans per week. And Canada is a big part of it. While loans are still not available in Canada, Canadians are able to lend, and according to Kiva’s team leaderboard, “Team Canada” is third on the all time lenders list, at $2.5 million. And Canada leads this month’s leaderboard, at $86,975.

    “This has been an amazing journey over the last seven years,” said Matt Flannery, Kiva co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “I want to thank the one million borrowers who have proven to the world that it was worth taking a chance on them. You have made Kiva possible.”

    Kiva’s small dollar individual loans are designed to help those that can’t get help from the traditional banking system, and have helped low-income borrowers start and grow businesses, go to school, improve their homes, buy clean energy products, and more. Anyone with an internet connection can loan as little as $25 to the borrower of their choice, and the repayment rate is 98.9 per cent.

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    “Fundamentally, Kiva is about recognizing and supporting the potential that each person has whether they live across the street or across the world,” said Premal Shah, Kiva Co-founder and president, in a statement. “When we recognize and act on the potential in ourselves and others, as lenders or borrowers, powerful things can happen.”

    Kiva brought its microlending model to the U.S. in 2011, teaming with former U.S. President Bill Clinton to launch Kiva Cities, making a social impact in cities such as  Detroit, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

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    Jeff Jedras
    Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.