NewBoCo teams with Kiva US to launch hub for small business owners in Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (June 17, 2021) – The New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo) is teaming up with Kiva US to launch a statewide hub called Kiva Iowa. The new venture aims to help underserved entrepreneurs and small business owners in the state gain access to much-needed capital. 

Kiva, an international nonprofit based in San Francisco, gives entrepreneurs access to a microlending platform that offers business loans with zero-percent-interest and zero fees. Kiva also facilitates crowdfunding on their online platform. 

Iowa is the first to serve as a statewide hub partner. NewBoCo’s Kaitlin Byers will lead the new effort, serving as Kiva Iowa’s Capital Access Manager.

Byers ran a small business of her own for five years, operating in four cities across Iowa. She says that access to this type of capital could have been the boost she needed to stay in business.

“Kiva microloans can be a game changer for entrepreneurs who face barriers to accessing traditional means of capital,” says Byers. “With this holistic and accessible model for lending, we are eager to help set underrepresented business owners on the path to financial success.” 

Kiva users can lend as little as $25 to individual entrepreneurs, providing them affordable capital to start or expand a small business. Kiva facilitates loans to entrepreneurs in more than 80 countries around the world and launched in the United States in 2011. 

NewBoCo’s staff built Iowa’s first time-boxed accelerator, the Iowa Startup Accelerator (ISA). Since its formation, companies in ISA have created more than 200+ jobs and raised more than $40 million to further their growth. The NewBoCo team also runs the 1 Million Cups Cedar Rapids chapter, where NewBoCo staff educates, mentors, and engages with new and existing businesses in the ICR region.

Thanks to a Kiva loan, an entrepreneur poses beside their new construction business

NewBoCo’s partnership with Kiva is made possible through funding from the Iowa Economic Development Authority with additional support from GoDaddy, and The City of Cedar Rapids. Two other partners include Jane Boyd Community House (Empower Program) and The Global Good Fund, a national nonprofit with expertise in leadership development. These two partners will provide practical, strategic, and hands-on mentoring, coaching and training to equip these business owners for growth.

Crowdfunded loans fill a critical lending gap faced by entrepreneurs whose businesses are too young, too small, or have been rejected by traditional lenders due to low or no credit score. With a global repayment rate of 97 percent, this is a huge opportunity to build the ‘missing micro’ ladder of small, affordable loans, especially for women, entrepreneurs of color, and low to moderate income business owners.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities across Iowa,” Byers said. “By lending on the Kiva platform, you are letting these local entrepreneurs know that you believe in them and want them to succeed. This may very well be the assurance they need to take their business to the next level. Our partnership with Kiva further confirms our dedication to supporting the dreams of entrepreneurs across the state of Iowa. When these entrepreneurs thrive, we all win.”

About Kiva US

Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva celebrates and supports people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. With as little as a $25 loan, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy and realize their potential. For more information about Kiva Iowa, visit www.newbo.co/kiva  

About NewBoCo 

The New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative, Inc. (NewBoCo) is a 501(c)(3) organization located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. NewBoCo’s programming supports entrepreneurship, innovation, and tech education to help Iowans become more resilient and thrive in a changing economy. For more information, visit www.newbo.co