Top 10 Reasons why Milwaukee is the Best New Kiva City

Who's sick of our Kiva Zip love for Milwaukee? Not us, obviously!
As a result, our East Coast Development Manager Jessica put together a list of why the Cream City is the best new Kiva Zip city!

1. The borrowers


Kiva City Milwaukee has fully funded 11 entrepreneurs, with 15 currently fundraising on the website. That's a total of 26 small businesses represented at the launch!

2. The City


Mayor Tom Barrett declared February 17, 2015 "Kiva City Day." We have an official, framed proclamation to prove it.

3. The Kiva Fellows


Gabriel Mekbib and Lauren Stinson have the Kiva Zip entrepreneurial hustle... and look great while doing it too!

4. Partners in local microfinance


The Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) was instrumental to bringing us to Milwaukee. WWBIC makes small business loans, but they are unable to serve everyone who comes through their door, as some businesses are a bit too small, or too early. By bringing in Kiva Zip, they now have an option to help some of these promising entrepreneurs get started on accessing the credit they need.

5. Hip warehouse parties


Our evening celebration was held in an artisan warehouse called Scathain, which makes mirrors and ironwork. Their workspace was transformed into a borrower marketplace (with more than 15 borrowers featured), indoor food truck rally, and makeshift stage. All in all, the venue was very Kiva.

6. Local Kivans


Kathy Guis and Nick Anderson joined us in bringing Kiva back home!

7. Wisconsin cheese


WWBIC client Gouda Girls provided grilled cheese, mac and cheese, you name it.

8. Hinterland-scented beard oil


Made by Kiva Zip borrower Milwaukee Candle and Apothecary. From the state that produced Bon Iver and lots of snow, this is exactly the type of local product that would never exist anywhere else.

9. Milwaukee Blacksmith


Milwaukee Blacksmith is still fundraising on Kiva Zip and raising a new family member! Congratulations to Shannon and Kent for welcoming their sixth child one day after Milwaukee's launch! The Kiva Zip family is (literally) growing.

10. Collective impact of local funders


This is of course where I get most excited. This wouldn't have been possible without the collaboration between the Alfred and Isabel Bader Fund, a Bader Philanthropy; the City of Milwaukee; Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Greater Milwaukee Foundation; Zilber Family Foundation; William G. and Christie A. Krugler; Baird; and Matthew Messinger; as well as matching loan sponsors George A. Mosher and the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation. Many, many thanks.

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Posted by Jessica Feingold, Kiva Development Manager

Feb 20, 2015

Jessica is Kiva's Development Manager focusing on the East Coast. Previously, she was the Director of Partnerships and a Partner at Ashoka Changemakers, where she connected corporate and philanthropic partners with the work of leading social entrepreneurs. Since its inception, she has supported Move This World, a global nonprofit that uses creative movement to address and transform conflict, in media and communications. She is a co-founder of LiV, a 501(c)3 focused on developing a better solution for menstrual hygiene in India and Mozambique. Jess received a B.A. from the University of Virginia, an MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and studied social entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. She is a contributor to Forbes.

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