Meet the Kiva Zip Kenya Team: Akash Trivedi

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Dreamer, Kendrick Lamar enthusiast and Kiva Zip Kenya Program Manager, Akash Trivedi has been with the Kiva team for 4 years. He's interested in creating scalable and sustainable impact.

Background before Kiva Zip?
Graduated from Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 with a dual degree in Finance and Management. I pursued a couple of start ups after I graduated, first as a co-founder and then as the business controller before moving out to the Bay. Spent a year and a half as a financial analyst at a tech company out in the East Bay called MobiTV. Started @ Kiva in 2010 as an intern and became the company's Chief of Staff in 2011 where I worked directly under the CEO and President, Matt Flannery. We launched Zip in Kenya in November 2011.

What were you hoping to achieve at Zip?
For me, Zip is not just an evolutionary change to microfinance, it's discontinuous. If we do this well, we have the opportunity to expand access/create options, significantly lower the cost of capital (even if it's not ultimately 0%), and create meaningful linkages (e.g. connecting a farmer in Bungoma to another farmer in his community to agriculture consultants in Nairobi to a lender in Houston and so on.)
My goal is to create a truly global community bank.

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3. What are you passionate about?
At my core, I'm passionate about two things: learning about people and their life stories, and helping people reach their potential. I think that's what's so inspiring about the premise of Zip. It's about sharing experiences/capital in an effort to help entrepreneurs reach their potential.

4. Advice for entrepreneurs?
There are no shortcuts when trying to start your own business. The journey is long; the journey is difficult. However there ARE things you can do to help yourself. Firstly, connecting to a mentor who believes in you and is willing to provide regular support. Secondly, taking small bets. Starting a business can be very capital intensive and many entrepreneurs convince themselves they need all of the money up front; but if you're smart you can often figure out if an idea is going to work or not at very little cost to you.

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Posted by Tiffany Vlaanderen, Kiva Zip Fellow, Kenya

May 19, 2014

Tiffany currently serves as a Fellow for the Kiva Zip Kenya team in Nairobi, a platform that allows people to lend to entrepreneurs directly in Kenya via mobile technology. She's interested in learning how we can work with individuals and communities to create economic opportunities for themselves.

Before becoming a fellow Tiffany worked at Kiva headquarters on the Marketing & Communications team and ate her way through countless Nopalito excursions in San Francisco. Before joining Kiva, she played tag with hundreds of Japanese elementary and junior high students daily and more formally served as their foreign English teacher in a small seaside, agricultural town in Kumamoto prefecture. She also wrote for Forbes Indonesia which truly taught her that you could love what you do on a daily basis -- it’s a feeling she's continually fighting for.

She has an insatiable appetite when it comes to food, sharing stories and challenging her perspective. Her hometown is a neighborhood full of endless dim sum & tacos in a pocket of Los Angeles. She enjoys capturing moments with her iPhone, spending time with warm people and listening to Drake narrate her life daily.

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