By Zack Quaintance
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) 70 percent of women entrepreneurs in New York City say access to capital is a major challenge, and half of women entrepreneurs there seek less than $10,000 when starting their business plans. A new program sponsored by the city of New York and Kiva.org hopes to assist women in getting their businesses off the ground.
New York City is partnering with the nonprofit crowdfunding platform Kiva.org on a city-led program to help women entrepreneurs start businesses.
The program, dubbed WE Fund: Crowd, lets women apply for crowdfunded loans of up to $10,000, to which the city will contribute the first 10 percent of the request. In a press release announcing the program, city officials said the initiative is designed to reach a minimum of 500 businesses over three years.
The release also detailed a gender entrepreneurship gap that currently exists in the city, citing that as many as 70 percent of women entrepreneurs in New York City say access to capital is a major challenge, and half of women entrepreneurs there seek less than $10,000 when starting their business plans.
“Leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs will help grow and diversify our economy, and strengthen our families and neighborhoods,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in the release.
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“With Kiva, we will help launch small businesses that might otherwise never get off the ground.”
Loans from the city in support of this program will be confirmed once a project reaches all of its funding goal.
The contribution from the municipal government will be capped at $1,000 per campaign, and the terms of these loans include no-interest repayments for up to 42 months. This marks the first time that Kiva, which was founded in 2005, has partnered with a government-supported initiative of this nature, aimed at getting seed money to women entrepreneurs.