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City expands its Kiva loan program to ensure access to capital

The City of Rochester is expanding its Kiva loan program to make more capital available to small businesses during the economic downturn expected in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced the changes Monday that will expand the size of Kiva Rochester loans, waive some eligibility requirements to allow more people to apply, and provide a six-month grace period before repayments take place. 

Kiva loans are crowd-sourced funds in which donors invest as little as $25 to a lending pool, and participating businesses can take out small but critical interest-free loans. Repayments go back to a pool where the donors can retrieve their investment, or other borrowers can access the money. 

Rochester borrowers apply through the international Kiva Microfunds program, with help from the Rochester program.  

“During this time of uncertainty we must use every tool at our disposal to help our local business owners stay viable and keep this vital engine of our economy up and running,” said Mayor Warren. “Kiva helps us do that by providing businesses with interest-free loans that can be used for a wide variety of reasons.”

Warren said the maximum amount of Kiva Rochester loans will increase to $15,000, adding $5,000 to the limit. 

Since the program was introduced locally in August 2016, Kiva Rochester has provided 85 entrepreneurs a total of $476,525 in no-fee, interest-free loans.

Businesses can find out more information on the city’s Kiva Rochester website: www.cityofrochester.gov/kiva.

dcarter@bridgetowermedia.com/ (585) 363-7275

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