Green Loans, which can be accessed from a new module on the lend tab, is a new vertical that allows the Kiva community to make loans towards green businesses and individuals who are helping make the transition to cleaner and more efficient sources of energy. Kiva Green Loans include both business and personal loans that contribute towards reducing energy expenditures, minimizing waste and pollution, recycling, or re-purposing used materials.
For example, Blanca Rosa of Santa Cruz, Bolivia has applied for a $500 loan from Kiva to help her expand her business of converting taxi engines to run on natural gas, which ends up being a more affordable business model. With the loan she received from Kiva, she was able to purchase an emulator, timing devices, iron, bolts, and other supplies for her gas conversion workshop.
Other examples of Green Loans include loans to create or purchase organic fertilizer; loans to purchase renewable energy-generating devices, such as solar panels, wind power and biofuels; loans for transportation, including hybrid cars, converting cars to natural gas or purchasing a bicycle; loans for “green” home improvements, including more efficient heating methods or high-efficiency cookers/low propane gas stoves; and recycling-related loans, such as re- purposing or transforming used or recycled materials.
This is actually the second vertical that Kiva has expanded to. The non-profit just added student loans to the mix last Fall.
Kiva has been growing like a weed since its launch in 2008. Currently, over 570,000 people have loaned more than $200 million to entrepreneurs in 59 countries via Kiva. Kiva’s repayment rate thus far (for entrepreneurs) is 98 percent and the startup is raising $1 million every 5 days for small businesses. And Kiva CEO Premal Shah predicts that the organization will raise $1 billion in microloans by 2015. Expanding the power of this service to green businesses is no doubt a worthy cause.