Elizabeth Frame Ellison

Elizabeth Frame Ellison, CEO of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, says Kiva City Tulsa will help local entrepreneurs. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World file

The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation is bringing an international microfinancing platform to Tulsa entrepreneurs.

LTFF and Louisville-based Access Ventures announced Thursday their plan to launch Kiva City Tulsa, a nonprofit initiative that will bring crowd-funded microloans to local small-business owners and entrepreneurs.

Tulsa will join the national network of other successful Kiva cities such as Philadelphia, New York City, Oakland, Newark and others. Bringing the internationally recognized Kiva platform to Tulsa furthers the foundation’s mission to promote financial inclusion, fostering local economic growth in Tulsa’s entrepreneurial community.

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“Making Tulsa a Kiva City will elevate local entrepreneurs by giving them access to funding they desperately need,” Elizabeth Ellison, CEO of LTFF, said in a statement. “It also gives our local businesses international exposure to Kiva’s 1.6 million community of lenders.

“Additionally, Kiva is a proven platform with a 97.1 percent repayment rate, so I hope this will increase Tulsans’ comfort with funding local startups, all while supporting inclusive lending for the entire community.”

David Taliaferro, director of microfinance for Access Ventures, said the company is excited to come to Tulsa.

“Having worked on several Kiva initiatives in various cities, it’s clear that having an engaged local partner is critical to success,” Taliaferro said in a statement. “As a recognized convener and funder of programs that support the entrepreneurial community, LTFF’s desire to champion an inclusive crowd-based solution that will benefit entrepreneurs throughout the city only makes sense.”

Through Kiva, anyone can help grow business in Tulsa and promote local job creation by visiting kiva.org and choosing an entrepreneur they want to support with a loan of $25 or more. Individual loans of $25 or more are collected until the borrower’s full loan request is “crowd-funded.”

Small-business loans crowd-funded through Kiva average $5,000, are offered at 0 percent interest with no fees and are available to borrowers who may be rejected by traditional lenders.

Crowd-funded loans fill a critical lending gap faced by entrepreneurs whose businesses are too young, too small or too innovative to receive loans from traditional lenders. Traditional lenders reject 80 percent of small business loan applications, and Hispanics and African-American entrepreneurs are denied small business loans up to three times more often than their Caucasian counterparts.

Currently, LTFF and Access Ventures are working through the implementation of the program, starting with a local job search for a Kiva lead.

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Rhett Morgan



Twitter: @RhettMorganTW

Staff Writer

Rhett is in his fourth decade as a reporter. He covers development, manufacturing, aerospace, entrepreneurship and assorted other topics related to the Work and Money section.