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Inspiring stories from Kiva President Premal Shah at Hearsay Social Innovation Summit

Our inaugural Innovation Summit for financial industry leaders is taking place at the San Francisco headquarters today. The summit brings together industry thought leaders to discuss the future of financial services and relationship management in the social era.
After an opening fireside chat with Sallie Krawcheck and a panel featuring CEOs of financial startups, the afternoon continued with a fireside chat with Premal Shah, President of Kiva.org, a micro-finance site that connects investors with low-income entrepreneurs across the globe.

Shah shared inspiring stories of some borrowers, like Yenku (a double-amputee from Sierra Leone who supports his family with a grocery stand) and Olivia (an 18-year-old woman in Kenya who wants to pay her degree at Strathmore University, one of the leading private universities in Kenya).
Many of the stories of the beneficiaries of Kiva are individually vetted by local microfinance organizations or universities, as in the case of Strathmore. A new “alpha” model, however, includes a word-of-mouth component that allows borrowers who have successfully paid back their loans to vouch for others whose credit scores might not fully represent their credit worthiness.
“In the early days, just getting people to the website was a challenge,” explained Shah. “Today, we raise $1 million every three days on the site.”
Last year, Reid Hoffman donated $1 million to consumers who wanted to donate on Kiva in $25 increments. Since then, Hoffman’s investment has been paid back, and the new lenders have donated an additional $1.2 million of their own money.
“The opportunity for brands to have an impact and engage their customers is real.”
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