SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- From handmade wallets to custom-made t-shirts, small business owners from San Jose gathered in a room Wednesday night to showcase their goods. They are determined to succeed. But a problem that many of them face -- getting a loan.
Martin Magana who owns Wood Wallet explained, "Through a bank I would need credit and need more sales and I didn't have it. I was just starting out."
Magana was able to get a $5,000 loan with zero interest from Kiva. The non profit crowdfunds loans to entrepreneurs worldwide. It officially launched today in San Jose and the Peninsula.
Sarah Adeel, who heads Kiva San Jose/Peninsula said,"People can start helping people and somebody should focus on small businesses and not just on tech giants."
Nina Kulick is trying to raise money to grow her business Gooseberry Designs which prints maps on home goods.
"It's wonderful it's an amazing opportunity and I'm just really amazed at what we can achieve in our own area," said Kulick.
So far there are 47 entrepreneurs from San Jose and Pennisula who are currently borrowing using Kiva. The nonprofit hopes to partner with businesses to do loan matches.
"eBay and Paypal have set up a matching fund so if I am raising money and you give me 25 dollars it becomes 50 immediately because every dollar gets matched that they give us," said Adeel.
After spending 20 years in prison, Gary Valentino Hollis couldn't get a loan. Kiva helped him start a cleaning service. He went from a mop and broom to owning a van and employing 11 workers.
"It made me the man I always wanted to be and it opened up the vision that I always had," said Hollis.
A vision that has led to a brighter future.
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Silicon Valley program may help cash-strapped small businesses