Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

With new program, the city gets into microlending for its own residents

WE NYC will loan women entrepreneurs their first $1,000, says Mayor Bill de Blasio.

WE NYC will offer interest-free loans up to $1,000 for women entrepreneurs.

(Photo from Flickr user Pictures of Money, used under a Creative Commons license)

A new city program will offer women entrepreneurs up to a $1,000 interest-free loan if they can secure another $9,000 from friends, family and the greater internet.

The program is called WE NYC and will be run through the crowdfunding platform Kiva.

According to the city, approximately half of women entrepreneurs seek $10,000 or less when starting a business.

Kiva is a social impact crowdfunding (sometimes called “microlending”) platform that launched in 2005. It operates in more than 80 countries around the world, particularly in developing nations. Lenders on Kiva can offer as little as $25 toward a project, and when the money is paid back, are encouraged to use it to lend to another project.

The city says it plans to distribute up to $3 million in these microloans over the next three years. Like Kickstarter, it will only disburse the money if the borrower hits their lending dollar goal, up to $10,000.

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