Mar. 17, 2016 9:33 am

Kiva Zip Philadelphia doubled its loan cap for first-time entrepreneurs

It's a modest boost, but a good sign for the crowdfunding platform's local post.

Double the funds, double the fun.

(Photo by Flickr user frankieleon, used under a Creative Commons license)

Local money-hungry, neophytic entrepreneurs rejoice: Kiva Zip Philadelphia just extended its loan limit to first-time business owners from $5,000 to $10,000.

After failing to meet their ambitious one-year goal of funding 100 local organizations, the crowdfunding platform’s Philadelphia garrison is breaking into it’s second year in full force — though, still with a one-person staff.

“Winter is a slow season for us,” said Kiva Zip Philadelphia Manager Alyssa Thomas. “And the loan volume coming through for the spring is looking promising.”

To date, Kiva has raised $373,725 to fund 81 entrepreneurs. Thomas said the cap extension comes on the heels of a number of “really great businesses” that were capped off after applying. Though it’s still modest, the boost might mean that more entrepreneurs will be interested in using Kiva Zip to get a hold of some funds.

Not every applicant will qualify for the $10,000, Thomas said, but strong applicants will now be able to add a little extra padding to their pockets. Two applicants are in the process of raising funds right now, including Chinatown restaurant Bubblefish.

Though the loan limit boost is good news for business owners, Kiva Zip Philadelphia is working on a few initiatives to further engage the city’s business community.

  • The platform has forged new partnerships with Community Integrated Services, Reading Terminal Market and Fair Food Philly. “We have some partners we are working with now who have never endorsed a business” but are preparing to endorse in the spring, said Thomas.
  • Coffee Chats with Commerce is a new regular open office hour series from the Department of Commerce featuring Kiva Zip, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and Business Service Managers. The series travels from neighborhood to neighborhood.

And — for fluent Spanish speakers looking for work (or those concerned for Thomas’ isolation as Kiva Zip Philadelphia’s sole employee), here’s some good news: Kiva is looking for a part time, paid fellow — a sign that the Department of Commerce is taking further steps to help find funding for minority-owned businesses.

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