This local musician and entrepreneur is less than $1000 away from his Kiva goal, but the clock is ticking.
Kiva Iowa is for real. But don’t take our word for it. Just ask Antonio “Tone Da Boss” Chalmers.
As a musician, Tone didn’t think there were enough opportunities in Iowa for his colleagues to get recognized. So as a promoter and entrepreneur, he’s aiming to change that. And he’s doing it with the help of NewBoCo and Kiva Iowa.
A lot of people still aren’t familiar with Kiva Iowa, so here’s what it does in a nutshell. Kiva Iowa gives entrepreneurs access to a microlending platform, which offers zero interest, zero fee, extended grace period loans – not from a bank, but from fellow members of the Kiva community. The loans can be for up to $15,000, and lenders can give as little as $25 at a time.
Tone has a Kiva campaign going right now to raise money for Iowa Summer Jam and the Iowa Music Awards. He’s almost made it to his $8,000 goal with just a few days to go, and just needs a few more supporters to help get him across that finish line.
It’s stories like these that show how Kiva Iowa is making an impact on our communities and our state. We all know them – entrepreneurs who have a dream, but don’t have the resources to make it happen without a loan or investment. For many of those entrepreneurs, those things are out of reach. But Kiva Iowa makes them possible. And fellow Iowans like us are why.
To help explain, here’s a little more background about Tone.
Tone is the founder of T1 Entertainment, an artist development management company. For the past six years, T1 has worked with hundreds of artists as well as put on dozens of major events. Two of those events are Iowa Summer Jam and the Iowa Music Awards.
Why? His reasons are simple. “Iowa is home for me, but we have a lot of talented artists who don’t have the opportunity to showcase what they want to do,” Tone says. “And I want to help them.”
The success of Iowa Summer Jam led Chalmers to create T1 Entertainment in 2017, allowing him to provide management, booking, workshops, consultations, and more. It also inspired him to want to create the Iowa Music Awards, a statewide celebration that launched in 2022. The most recent ceremony was held at Riverside Casino in October.
The Iowa Music Awards gives local artists the opportunity to feel like celebrities, it brings together the entire community, and it serves as a networking event,” Tone said. “A lot of us here in Iowa will never make it to the Grammys. So I figured, why not create our own thing?”
While Iowa Summer Jam and the Iowa Music Awards have been successful so far, they’ve all been self-funded. That’s why Tone told us that he wanted to work with Kiva Iowa.
“The Kiva loan is going specifically toward Iowa Summer Jam,” he said. “We’re looking to lock in an arena, so that artists will get showcased on a large platform. There will be billboards, advertisements, and everything we can do to draw people’s attention.”
Although it’s been active in Iowa for two years, Tone says many people still aren’t aware of Kiva Iowa. That led to some skepticism among people in the community when he first announced the campaign.
At first, people weren’t receptive to a post asking people to lend money,” he said. “But after I made a video, and posted a testimonial, the lenders started coming, and they are still coming. This Kiva process has been one of the easiest I’ve done, and it’s definitely a route I recommend for getting your business started the right way.”
With just six days left on the campaign, Tone has 148 backers and less than $600 left to go before he hits his goal. Here’s how to help.
Tone is already planning out what he wants to accomplish in the years ahead. He wants to see Iowa Summer Jam grow to Lollapalooza-like levels, bringing in bigger-name celebrities and putting Iowa on the national music map.
More importantly, he wants to keep helping young musicians who have the same dreams he had at their age.
“These are the opportunities that I wish had been available to me,” he said. “So I love giving back. I didn’t go through trials and tribulations of music in my younger days for me. I went through them so that I could learn how to help out other people. There is no place in the world like Iowa. We always look out for each other.”
Want to know more? Tone is pretty active on Instagram at @t1entertainment. You can also listen to our conversation with Tone on the Iowa Innovation podcast. And if you want to become part of his campaign, here’s where to find it.
And while you’re at it, read up on some of the other success stories we’ve had with Kiva Iowa over the past two years. We’ve all worked together to make a lot of dreams happen. But as far as we’re concerned, we’re just getting started.
See you at Iowa Summer Jam.