No Boundaries award winner 2011
In 2004, Jackley took a job in rural East Africa with Village Enterprise Fund, a nonprofit microenterprise development group. While there, she began interviewing entrepreneurs to learn about their financial needs and interests. Her then-husband Matt Flannery took time off from his engineering job to visit her in Africa.
They launched Kiva in October, 2005 in San Francisco. The non-profit company was the first peer-to-peer online micro-lending service. Its goal is two-fold: to provide a means for entrepreneurs to secure loans and to bring people from disparate parts of the world together through the loan process.
The couple started the enterprise by soliciting their wedding guests and raised US$3,000 for seven businesses in Uganda during the first six months of operation. The next year Kiva facilitated US$500,000 in loans. As of late May 2011, it has facilitated US$215 million through more than 286,000 loans. More than 585,000 lenders have funded a Kiva loan to 556,926 entrepreneurs in 213 countries (there are many group loans, so the number of lenders and entrepreneurs exceeds the number of loans.) Lenders do not receive any interest on the loans they make.
Lenders log onto the Kiva website to read about and select the entrepreneurs that will be funded. Kiva also facilitates ongoing communication between the lenders and entrepreneurs, who often continue to email each other even after the loan is repaid − some lenders even have visited the businesspeople they fund, and vice versa. The majority of entrepreneurs are in developing parts of the world, but Kiva began allowing US-based entrepreneurs into its network in 2009. The minimum amount a person can loan through Kiva is US$25, though the average amount loaned per lender is about US$231. Lenders make an average of about seven loans.
To get funds to the entrepreneurs, Kiva works with a network of microfinance institutions, which it calls Field Partners, who identify suitable recipients and collect repayments, which are then returned to the Kiva lenders. The Field Partners charge interest for the loans, but Kiva says that the rates they charge are better than what local banks would offer. Kiva boasts a repayment rate of more than 98 percent (although some have questioned this number since the Field Partners are the ones who collect repayments).
Flannery today is the CEO of Kiva. He has been named a fellow of the Draper Richards Foundation, the Skoll Foundation and of Ashoka, all of which fund and support social entrepreneurs. Jackley left Kiva and recently launched ProFounder, a micro-loan organization that serves US entrepreneurs. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a 2011 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society. She has also taught Global Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC.