A Detroit-based crowd-funding initiative has become the newest umbrella program of the state of Michigan's Pure Michigan Business Connect.
is the Detroit-branch and first U.S. branch of Kiva.org
. The San Francisco-based micro-lending website specializes in helping fledgling entrepreneurs in third world countries raise small amounts of capital to start or grow their businesses. Kiva Detroit was launched
a year ago with the idea of kicking off the same concept in the U.S.
"This provides a nice opportunity to focus their (local investors) efforts locally and help these entrepreneurs that want to take that next step and invest in themselves," says Greg West, community lending manager for the Michigan Economic Development Corp
He adds that there is still an gap between institutional investors, such as banks, and young entrepreneurs with fresh ideas in economically challenged places like Detroit. Kiva Detroit has the potential to help close that gap.
The new state-led support for Kiva Detroit is part of four other programs that were brought under the Pure Michigan Business Connect umbrella this spring. Pure Michigan Business Connect
is a state-led effort to connect local businesses with investment and revenue sources. So far it has leveraged more than $8 billion, helping companies find new ways to raise capital, get access to various business services, and connect with each other with business-to-business procurement opportunities.
Source: Greg West, community lending manager for the Michigan Economic Development Corp
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.