Mayor Lovely Warren has announced the city will partner with Kiva, a national crowdfunding effort, to give local, low-income entrepreneurs the chance to receive micro-loans for their small businesses.
Kiva, a non-profit, online lender, has also partnered with other cities across the country, and, according to city officials, Rochester will be the first city in Upstate New York to join the endeavor.
“The city of Rochester has always been known for its entrepreneurial spirit, and as our economy emerges, our residents have more interest than ever in starting their own businesses,” Mayor Warren said during a press conference Monday, at Coffee Connection on E. Main St., which is a former Kiva-loan recipient.
According to Warren, the city will donate $100,000, through the Rochester Economic Development Corp., and match up to $5,000 in each loan given to startups in the Rochester Kiva office.
Borrowers will not have to pay interest or fees on the loans, and, once approved, they will be sent to small business owners through PayPal.
The city said recipients can receive anywhere from $25 to $10,000 in loans from Kiva, although they must begin repaying the loans one month after launching their startups.
The business owners will have two years to pay back the loans.
Interested individuals may contact local Kiva manager Bradley Willows, at Bradley.Willows@cityofrochester.gov, for additional information regarding the program.