Expanding Financial Opportunities for Underserved Entrepreneurs

In Washington, DC, like many metropolitan cities, there are numerous food trucks lining the streets surrounding downtown businesses, providing an assortment of tasty treats and cuisines for residents, workers, and tourists.

For many of the food truck owners, their day-to-day operations are significantly dependent on their trucks’ equipment operating correctly.

Suppose a refrigerator or deep freezer stops working, the grill begins to malfunction, or the fryer needs to be replaced. Most small business owners would find themselves in a financial bind.

Luckily, LISC DC has a solution – a partnership with Kiva Zip. Kiva Zip is an international microloan crowdlending tool that provides 0% interest loans to small businesses.

Here’s how it works:

As a small business owner, you can borrow up to $10,000 at 0% interest through Kiva Zip’s online crowdlending platform.


LISC DC has teamed up with our partner, Rhode Island Avenue NE Main Street to provide a 1-for-1 lending match for businesses located on Rhode Island Avenue NE Corridor or those looking to locate there (while supplies last).

This means that if the Main Street endorses you as a borrower, your business only needs to raise $5,000 through Kiva Zip to receive a $10,000 loan at 0% interest! Once you have successfully used Kiva Zip to raise the capital needed for your business, and have paid back your loan within two years, you can then be eligible to use Kiva Zip again for another 0% interest loan.

Kiva Zip loans are crowdfunded by people across the globe who lend as little as $25 to support your business. These can be complete strangers or customers, friends, and investors that you know.

Unlike traditional lending institutions like a bank, with Kiva Zip, your character – not your credit – is what is most important. This means, having community members vouch for you and your business, and showing their support by lending you small amounts, is what drives the success of your crowdfunding endeavor. With a Kiva Zip loan, you are not only expanding your business’ brand, but are also increasing your network, which in turn will help your business grow.

As we mentioned earlier, our partner, Rhode Island Avenue NE Main Street, has agreed to serve as a Kiva Zip trustee. This means that they will endorse borrowers located on the Rhode Island Avenue NE Corridor or looking to move there, pending the business’ eligibility. Once the Main Street provides an endorsement, we here at LISC DC will turn on the 1-for-1 lending match, meaning that the business will have a much easier time reaching their crowdlending goal.

Check out this interview with LISC DC’s Adam Kent on RIA Main Street Radio, in which he discusses our partnership with Kiva Zip and how small business owners on the Rhode Island Avenue NE corridor can take advantage of this valuable resource, and click on this link to learn more about how to access this 0% interest loan.

For more than three decades, LISC has connected local organizations and community leaders with resources to revitalize neighborhoods and improve quality of life.  We are proud to partner with Kiva Zip to support entrepreneurs endorsed by our local partner, Rhode Island Avenue NE Main Street, and to expand financial opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs in the DC area.

If you are interested in learning more about this Kiva Zip opportunity, contact LISC Program Officer Adam Kent (akent@lisc.org; 202-739-9283) or RIA Main Street Executive Director Kyle Todd (kyle@riamainstreet.org; 202-808-9050).