From Stranger to Investor: The Value of the Kiva Zip Lender Community
About two and a half years ago, my co-founder Kwami Williams and I had just learned about an amazing tree called “Moringa” that had the potential to end malnutrition and poverty in rural Ghana. The tree’s oil seeds, rich in antioxidants and anti-aging moisturizing agents could be processed into valuable cosmetic oil for hair and skin care. The leaves of the same tree, rich in iron, calcium, protein, and vitamins could be used as a stable food source for farmers. We started to piece together the foundations for a dream to utilize this incredible tree at scale.
Just over a year ago, we were stuck. We were too small for most social impact investors and too risky for banks. The interest rates on credit and typical microfinance loans were astronomical. We didn't want to give up equity to just any investor - we needed someone who truly understood our social mission and vision. Kiva Zip filled that crucial financing gap. When University Incubator offered us the opportunity to crowdfund a Kiva Zip loan to purchase the last of the machinery we would need to get our Moringa oil processing center up and running, we were thrilled. What better investors to have than Kiva Zip Lenders?
We started to truly understand the significance and interconnectedness of the Kiva Zip family when two of our lenders - Ester and Fredrik - came all the way from Sweden to visit us at MIT’s D-Lab. Their family was among the most generous backers of our indiegogo crowdfunding campaignlast December and the earliest adopters of our retail line of Moringa oil, hair and skin care products. You can check them out on our website.
We shared with them our earliest prototypes and our plans for the future and they shared their history of involvement in international development projects in Kenya and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. It was a magical moment- meeting a stranger from across the globe who believed in our dream enough to take a chance on becoming an integral part of our story.
Perhaps it is an understatement to say that Kiva Zip Lenders are a part of our story. Without the continued interest and support of conscious consumers and lenders like you, there wouldn't be a story at all.
As we take the next step in bringing our retail line to the masses to lift millions more smallholder farmers out of poverty, there is nowhere we would rather turn for support. We've just launched a new loan through the Kiva Zip platform. Investment will go toward launching new farms (providing much needed inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, plowing services, and training) and building a sustainable market for our products. Check us out and help us launch this next chapter of our story.