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Microloans come to the Southland

Los Angeles is the third in the Kiva City program, after Detroit and New Orleans.
Los Angeles is the third in the Kiva City program, after Detroit and New Orleans.
Matt DeBord/KPCC

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You might not have heard about Kiva City LA, but it could be one of the best ways to spur economic growth in Southern California.

Kiva, a non-profit organization, is committed to alleviating poverty through microlending. Traditionally, this process has been used for people to lend as little as $25 to individuals or families all across the world. Now, Kiva is teaming up with the Mayor’s Office of Small Business, Valley Economic Development Center and Visa Inc. to apply this same approach to small businesses in Los Angeles.

In the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, the country will be leaning on small businesses more than ever to spur growth. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for two out of every three created jobs. In L.A., the country’s biggest small business community, there are 325,000 small businesses employing roughly 2 million people.

How exactly will Kiva City LA transfer small amounts of money from individuals to larger loans for businesses? What are the benefits of this process in the community? Would you be willing to lend money through such an organization?


Matt DeBord, KPCC Reporter; writes the DeBord Report

Premal Shah, President of

Angela Stanislawski, Vice President of Operations for VEDC (Valley Economic Development Center)