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  • Cathy O’Connor

Kiva making a difference for OKC small businesses

A year ago, while others were busy with holiday festivities, Maurianna Adams, executive director with Progress OKC, was working late evenings organizing the final logistics for what would be Oklahoma City’s first low-barrier, micro-lending program for entrepreneurs and startups.

Kiva launched to help business owners who typically have the most difficulty accessing capital. Traditional lenders such as banks may require credit history, collateral, citizenship and financial performance verification that can create barriers for startups, especially for women and minorities. KIVA is a key program in helping to create an entrepreneurial environment, brought to Oklahoma City through the support of the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Inasmuch Foundation.

The Oklahoma City program is hitting its goals plus some and has already fully funded 18 local businesses with more than $100,000 in total loans in 2021.

Some 100 lenders rushed in with $25 and $50 loans to raise $4,500 in under two weeks for Beehive Birth Consulting of Midwest City. The business provides maternal health services for Black and Indigenous women and families in underserved childbearing communities. The loan helped to fund the salaries for new personnel to support the growing demand for services.

The largest Kiva Oklahoma loan to date was for FlasHOLR, an Oklahoma-based transportation technology company that connects people who need hauling with cargo drivers. The company fully funded their $15,000 KIVA request within two weeks to recruit more truck drivers and add trucks.

There are many other success stories; fully funded requests for businesses in food and grocery, cosmetology, employment services for people with disabilities, recycling and more in need of an average $6,000 to take their enterprise to the next level.

Giving Tuesday and the holiday season is an important time to consider how we can help others in our community, share our talents and make lives better. I consider Maurianna’s work with Progress OKC a success for Oklahoma City and an example of how to make an impact on individuals and families in your community. Our small business community and minority communities are better because of her work over the past three years. Be part of our progress and support our growing entrepreneurial culture. Visit Progress OKC to make a micro loan, help a local business owner and make OKC a better place to live.


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