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While working at a nonprofit in East Africa to help entrepreneurs, Jessica Jackley and Matt Flannery saw that the biggest entrepreneurial challenge was startup funding even though the required funding was often minimal. So they built a platform to fund developing-world entrepreneurs and in April 2005 funded seven loans for a total of $3,500. When all the loans were repaid, they realized they had a sustainable business. Kiva allows anyone to fund a developing-world entrepreneur. Ninety-seven percent of loans are repaid, and investors are free to reinvest. Sustainable businesses are the result, leading to jobs and self-sufficiency—especially important to the 81 percent of borrowers who are women. To date, Kiva has provided $1.6 billion in loans. Your contribution can be as low as $25.

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