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Kiva Small Business Loans

The Northland Foundation has partnered with Kiva, a non-profit and a leader in micro-loans, to help small businesses in our region to start and grow. Kiva uses a unique crowd-funding platform that encourages lenders around the world to lend to our local borrowers.

Kiva loan amounts range from $1,000 - $15,000 at 0% interest with a repayment term of up to 3 years (36 months). Loan agreements and repayment terms are managed directly by Kiva.

We are a Kiva Trustee. That means we can help applicants prepare their business plans and Kiva online “pitch” to launch their loan on Kiva’s web platform.

Kiva itself is open to all entrepreneurs. But, to qualify for Northland Foundation's endorsement, the business must be located within our service area.

This one-page flyer gives an overview of how the process works.

Basic Kiva Eligibility Guidelines

For Kiva to consider your application:

  • Applicant must be at least 18 years old.
  • Business must be verifiable by providing any one of the following official government documents:

    • Incorporation documents
    • Certificate of Good Standing (State of Minnesota)
    • Doing Business As, or Fictitious Business Name, or Assumed Business Name
    • Business tax returns
    • Tax IDs/EINs
    • Permit
  • Must not currently be in foreclosure, bankruptcy, or under any liens
  • Must not have a violent or financial criminal conviction within the last 5 years.
  • Cannot use loan for refinancing debt or purchasing stock/equity.
  • Must have a PayPal account set up.
  • Kiva prohibits certain businesses from their lending program. Examples include:

    • Federally illegal activities (e.g. gambling, hemp-related products)
    • Businesses related to tobacco, pawn shops, weapons, multi-level marketing, direct selling, cryptocurrencies, drones, or adult entertainment.

Kiva Loan Process with Endorsement from Northland Foundation


Filling out our Intake Form is the first step in applying for a Kiva loan with Northland Foundation’s endorsement. Once you submit the form, someone from our staff will contact you to talk about your business and connect you with the Northland Small Business Development Center (SBDC). By working with the SBDC, you’ll receive FREE one-on-one consulting to work through creating your public Kiva profile and submitting the loan application.


After working with your SBDC consultant to submit your application on Kiva’s website, Kiva will review it and contact you directly if they have any questions. The amount that you are ultimately approved for is determined by Kiva's team. Once approved, you will be invited to start the Private Fundraising Period.

During this stage, the Northland Foundation helps support your request by endorsing you. As a Trustee, we vouch for the character and credibility of small business owners who we endorse. Borrowers endorsed by a Kiva Trustee typically receive more views and support from the global network of lenders.


Next, you’ll begin the PFP. This 15-day period requires you to find a minimum number of people to lend at least $25 each to your business. The number of lenders required depends on the size of your loan request and is determined by Kiva. It is usually 25 people or less.


Once you have completed the PFP, your loan goes live on the Kiva website, and anyone can lend any amount to support your business!

It is important to understand that this is an all-or-nothing campaign. During the public crowdfunding phase, you have 30 days to raise the remainder of the loan request. If you are unable to raise the full amount, Kiva will not award the loan.


If your Kiva campaign has raised all the money for your loan, the loan will be deposited by Kiva in your PayPal account. Your loan agreement and repayment schedule are managed directly between you and Kiva. Loan amounts range from $1,000 - $15,000 and have 0% interest and a maximum repayment term of 3 years (36 months).

Is Kiva Right for My Business?

The Northland Foundation and Northland SBDC are happy to help you apply for your Kiva loan and promote your crowdfunding campaign, but you need to know that getting a Kiva loan is hard work. Your success in fundraising to access Kiva’s 0% loans depends a lot on you! Learn more about Kiva:

Here are a couple questions that may help you decide if a Kiva loan is right for you:


  • This program is online based. Kiva communicates with borrowers by email.
  • Kiva funding is disbursed and repaid through a PayPal account. This is the only app Kiva uses for their loans, so you need to have/set up a PayPal account.
  • Northland SBDC consulting help is most often done virtually, and you will need access to technology to work on documents and complete your Kiva application.


  • Do you have a network of family, friends, or community willing to put up at least $25 each to support your business through the private fundraising period?
  • Are you willing to promote your business publicly? To gather support, you’ll need a plan to reach out to folks through social media, email, text, or other communications.

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? Email Amanda Vuicich, Small Business Lender at the Northland Foundation, or call her at (218) 270-8407.

Apply for Endorsement

If Kiva sounds like a good option for your business and you are interested in working with the Northland Foundation, click the button below to get started!

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