Starting now, anyone in the world can make a small loan to low-income U.S. entrepreneurs turned away by banks. It's all happening through Kiva.org, which has already been helping entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Erik Mantsch, owner of "Just Awesome," has a vision for his board game store -- a better look, better lighting and more kid-friendly shelving.
"Inventory as part of a game store, if we don't have a game that the people are looking for, we have a lot of missed opportunities," said Mantsch.
He and business partner Shane are looking for a $7,500 loan. Banks sent them away.
"One time the loan was sent through improperly so that affected the credit score. The second time I was applying for a Patriot Express loan which is for veterans specifically and that loan was denied as well," said Mantsch.
So Mantsch turned to the folks at Kiva.org, who are launching their operation in the United States, which was featured on Good Morning America . CEO and co-founder Matt Flannery says he and his co-workers aren't in it for the money and hope those who make the loans aren't either.
"There's no interest, it's a philanthropic loan so you do get your money back and it's more sustainable -- then a donation, but you don't make a profit. It's not really a good investment in the profit-making sense, but in the social sense, it's the best investment you can make," said Flannery.
The maximum loan you can take out is $10,000; the minimum donation you can make is $25. Kiva has been a business for four years, but up until now it's all been in developing companies overseas.
A shoemaker, a corner store there and soon perhaps, if all goes as planned, an expanded board game store at 24th and Diamond in /*San Francisco*/.
"We worked with Kiva and their loan providers to develop a plan and a strategy, plus the business is doing great, it's been a lot of fun, we have some wonderful customers," said Mantsch.