This past year, Haverford Microfinance Consulting (HMFC) successfully applied to become a Kiva-Zip Trustee as a way to help provide access to finance to area small businesses who find it difficult to raise needed funds for the success of their businesses. The students of HMFC searched throughout the Fall and Spring semesters to identify good candidates to assess using their loan underwriting training, and, assuming all went well, to endorse giving them access to Kiva Zip’s zero-interest loan crowdfunding loan platform.
Early this Spring semester, a Kiva Zip representative introduced HMFC to Aisha Al-Muid. After a series calls, meetings and visits to her store, the students were impressed both by her business acumen and by her boutique, Miss Mahogany. Co-president Ian McGroarty says, “Aisha’s goals are inspiring, her mission is meaningful, and her passion is undeniable. But more importantly her plan is good.”
Located in the heart of the 60th Street Corridor, Aisha’s boutique, Miss Mahogany Jewelry, is in an important, upcoming location. Once a bustling boulevard and retail center of West Philadelphia, the community is striving to restore itself after SEPTA’s decade-long closing and reconstruction of the 60th street station. Providing reasonably priced fashion and home accessories, Miss Mahogany Jewelry is one of many retail stores that are quickly becoming a major attraction to the area. While SEPTA’s reconstruction process is now complete, stores are still working to establish their presence as the corridor redefines itself. Providing access to needed finance can help with this community’s ultimate success. By endorsing Aisha as a Kiva Zip borrower, the students of Haverford HMFC are playing an active role in the community and supporting Aisha in achieving her goals.
Aisha plans to use the loan for marketing to enhance the buzz factor for Miss Mahogany and continue to drive foot traffic to the 60th street corridor. Aisha also plans to hire in-store-workers to free up her time to get the word out about her boutique and continue to find the products that make her shop a great place to shop.
After successfully showing her own network supports her during a two-week private fundraising period, Aisha’s profile is now public on the Kiva Zip platform and she is looking for individuals willing to help her achieve her funding goal. The students are asking for help in their effort to support Aisha to grow her business and in turn build the community. Please consider registering on the Kiva Zip platform and making a zero interest loan to Aisha and Miss Mahogany here.
Kiva-Zip is an organization dedicated to helping small businesses whose limited access to finance can be a big barrier to their success. Kiva-Zip’s peer-to-peer crowd funding strategy uses concepts of microfinance, in particular, harnessing a borrower’s social network to align incentives to repay, and has been successful in helping small businesses in communities across the US. With the recent involvement of Philadelphia’s Mayor’s office and declaration of Philadelphia as a Kiva Zip City, Kiva Zip is bringing funds to an increasing number of entrepreneurial firms in the region.
And, because of some generous local supporters, any funds lent to entrepreneurs in Philadelphia are currently being matched! So help the HMFC help Aisha and double your support by lending through Kiva Zip.