Michelle helped launch Kiva and is now figuring out how to wring the maximum impact from microfinance through Kiva Labs. Michelle has now spent over five years learning what works — and what doesn’t — in microfinance. She is wholly responsible for Kiva Labs, an investment wing within Kiva designed to test and scale new loan products with non-traditional partner organizations.
The StoryMicrofinance holds immense promise for improving the lives of the poor. Over the past four decades, the industry has reached over 100 million clients with more than $30 billion in loans. While credit has helped many clients smooth cash flows, purchase inventory, and buffer shocks, available loans exclude many: farmers who need to buy seeds, rural households wanting solar lights, rising students, and rural entrepreneurs who need flexible credit to increase their income and improve their lives. Microfinance institutions are often unwilling to offer more flexible products because it is too risky or costly to do so. Kiva Labs partners with high-performance organizations that need to offer credit to help their clients realize impact. Through Labs, Kiva develops and tests new financial products to see what works and share their results with a global audience; and in doing so, works to get high-impact products to people long overlooked.
How It Works
- Organizations that have a need for finance in their model partner with Kiva Labs
- Kiva Labs works with organizations to design their loan products
- Partners post loans on www.kiva.org and Kiva lenders finance on the website
- Kiva Labs collects and disseminates information about loan products that are successful (and those that aren’t) in terms of financial viability and impact