Kiva, a platform similar to Kickstarter in its approach, crowdsources micro-loans, connecting lenders with entrepreneurs.
Kiva lenders can contribute as little as $25 to a startup. With over 700,000 users on Kiva and almost $300 million raised in loans to date, the site enjoys a 98.91% repayment rate.
Its partnership with Silatech is not only shedding light on some of the young Arab entrepreneurs who are attempting to raise funds for their projects, it is also ensuring that they walk away with a doubled loan thanks to Silatech’s involvement.
Silatech’s role in the Kiva Arab Youth Campaign will be to match all loans made through Kiva, providing up to $125,000. As the loans are repaid, Kiva will recycle Silatech’s funds back into the program, providing more loans, benefiting more young Arab business owners.
52 young Arab entrepreneurs from Iraq, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon have already started raising funds through Kiva, some of the loans reaching over $1,000, an amount which will be matched by Silatech.
Speaking about the initiative, Premal Shah, president of Kiva said, “Kiva provides opportunities for everyday people to lend their support to Arab youth, and contribute to a larger vision of an Arab world where everyone has the financial resources they need to truly succeed.”
He added, “Kiva’s partnership with Silatech doubles the impact of your loan and enables a vibrant, ambitious and hopeful generation of Arab youth to participate in our global economy.”
The Middle East entrepreneurial scene is continuing to grow, but still faces an inordinate number of obstacles, making it a risky decision to venture out independently.
Dr Tarik Yousef, Silatech’s CEO said, ”Millions of young Arabs are trying to make a living on their own, despite often difficult conditions and low incomes. Far too many of these microentrepreneurs lack reliable affordable capital, preventing them from building a sustainable business.”
Speaking about Silatech’s latest contribution to the industry, he added, “Silatech’s microfinance loan programs are a way of addressing this shortfall and our partnership with Kiva provides a proven platform that gives individuals an opportunity to help aspiring young microentrepreneurs.”
This is not Silatech’s first initiative promoting entrepreneurship in the region. We recently told you about another initiative in which the organization is involved, in partnership with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees.
The project aims to empower Palestinian entrepreneurs, providing them with much needed loans, at a reduced risk, thanks to Silatech’s partial loan guarantee.