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Celebrating small business - The Gazette

Author: The Gazette

Source: https://www.thegazette.com/business/celebrating-small-business/

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Kaitlin Byers, capital access manager for Kiva Iowa, addresses the audience at EntreFEST 2022 in Iowa City on June 23.The microlending platform — which has helped more than 60 small businesses — is celebrating its second year with a Nov.14 event at NewBoCo in Cedar Rapids.(NewBoCo)CEDAR RAPIDS — More than two years since the launch of Kiva Iowa, organizers are looking to celebrate.So NewBoCo is inviting the public to An Evening with Kiva Iowa, a celebration event during Global Entrepreneurship Week on Nov.14.Mike Heaton, NewBoCo director of development“The stories of our Kiva Iowa borrowers are so incredibly inspiring,” says Mike Heaton, NewBoCo’s director of development. “We felt this was the perfect opportunity to share those stories and celebrate them with our larger community.”NewBoCo launched Kiva Iowa in 2021 in response to the lack of affordable microloans available to small business owners and budding entrepreneurs“It’s difficult to get capital unless you make it to a certain size, with a certain revenue under your belt,” Heaton says.“And if you’re a woman, a person of color, or someone with a low or non-existent credit score, it’s even more difficult.”Kiva Iowa provides entrepreneurs access to a microlending platform, allowing them to raise zero-interest, zero-fee loans ranging from $1,000 to $15,000, with lenders who are able to participate by giving as little as $25 at a time.Kiva Iowa also offers borrower access to an array of programs and mentors through NewBoCo.In just two years, the program has helped more than 60 small business owners who have used their loan to start or expand their businesses.Heaton says what’s impressed him the most about Kiva Iowa is how it’s been successful outside of its home base of Cedar Rapids.“We have borrowers in the program from Dubuque to Council Bluffs and most everywhere in between,” he says.“It is yet another example how Cedar Rapids leads the way with innovative ideas and then shares the success across the state.”The next stepKiva was launched with one-time startup funds from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Kauffman Foundation and GoDaddy.But with two years behind it — and a proven track record — NewBoCo is reaching out to Iowa businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor the costs of running and growing the program.That goal, Heaton says, led to the creation of the Nov.14 event as part of the citywide celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The week is a massive worldwide campaign to celebrate and empower entrepreneurs in every country and community, and Cedar Rapids has events planned all week throughout the community.At An Evening with Kiva Iowa, attendees will have the opportunity to socialize, embark on guided tours of the NewBoCo facility and hear from guest speakers, including a variety of entrepreneurs from Kiva Iowa."The Kiva Iowa Program has been growing rapidly over the past two years,” says Kaitlin Byers, capital access manager for Kiva Iowa.“Making time and space to celebrate the successes of our local business community is both essential and valuable."A diverse lineupByers notes that Kiva Iowa has served an incredibly diverse range of businesses, including businesses in education, health, communications/media, crafts, agriculture, restaurant/caterers, arts, retail, food production, technology, clothing, cosmetics and more.“We’ve got a lot of amazing trustees who have bought into the program, and I’ve been able to have a lot of meaningful dialogue with business owners and lenders across the state,” Byers says.“Over the past two years, we’ve really built a lot of credibility and shown that this program is for real.”In fact, for Byers — who once owned and operated her own business, and knows the challenges that can bring — Kiva Iowa has more than lived up to expectations since its 2021 founding.“Starting a business is hard for everyone, and it’s especially hard if you lack a safety net or resources at the beginning,” she says.“Yet access to funding for those who are underrepresented in the small business realm can unlock massive investment and innovation opportunities.“When we have a chance to bring our partners and small business community together — telling stories and celebrating wins — these intentional connections are incredibly meaningful," she says.To learn more about Kiva Iowa, apply for a loan, or support the many Iowa businesses currently seeking funding, visit newbo.co/kiva.To learn more about Cedar Rapids events during Global Entrepreneurship Week, click here.Rob Merritt is director of marketing for NewBoCo in Cedar Rapids.If you goWhat: An Evening with Kiva IowaWhen: 5 to 7 p.m.Tuesday, Nov. 14Where: NewBoCo, 415 12th Ave SE, Cedar RapidsCost: $25Register: https://newbo.co/event/an-evening-with-kiva-iowa/

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