The subject of crowdfunding has become a popular discussion, and a great funding opportunity for potential and growing entrepreneurs within the last five years. Business coach Vernard Alexander, of the Minority Networking Exchange, has been conducting workshops on the topic for two years encouraging small business owners and innovators to utilize the platform to gain funding for their businesses or ventures.
“In today’s economy you have to be creative as you think of ways to acquire capital,” he said. “With crowdfunding you not only fundraise, but it is a way to market your business and in some instances you establish or build your credit.”
Kiva Zip is one such crowdfunding source taking hold in the Pittsburgh area. As a pilot program launched by Kiva, it is considered the world’s first and largest micro-lending website. Emily Keebler, lead of Kiva City Pittsburgh, the local branch of Kiva Zip, describes it as a micro-lending website that empowers small businesses in Pittsburgh, and around the world, by connecting them to lenders who collectively fund loans and provide a network of support for each business. She pointed out that first time borrowers can apply for up to $5000 from lenders around the world who can give as little as $5. Once the loan is repaid, entrepreneurs can barrow $10,000 then up to $20,000.