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UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
0% Interest Loans for Startups

How to get a Small Business Loan with 0% Interest from Your Neighbors

In 2015, a group of women at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Northeast Kansas City couldn’t find jobs that paid a living wage.

So they teamed up with a former corporate trainer and a local business owner and created The Tamale Kitchen.

Today, six women turn their love for a cultural tradition into great-tasting tamales that generate revenue, create jobs and provide new opportunities for the next generation. In addition to making authentic handmade tamales, the women create, produce and market Spanish language t-shirts.

When the team needed $5,000 to buy a commercial grade blender, two insulated catering boxes, an old fashioned push cart and a website domain to create an online presence, they turned to a brand new financing tool in the Kansas City ecosystem, a crowdfunding loan called Kiva Zip.

Kiva Zip was brought to the area by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). Here is The Tamale Kitchen’s campaign, and here is what you need to know about the Kiva Zip loan:
Kiva Zip Loans help small business owner find funding

The Tamale Kitchen team was fully funded thanks to 60 lenders from across the nation. To learn more about their experience, we reached out to Becky Gripp, the team’s founder:

What did you do to attract potential lenders to your site? From the people who lended, what were some of the reasons they decided to front you the $$$?

I sent out a mass email and used my personal Facebook account.  Our initial lenders were community partners or supporters since inception. I am also on the board of directors of the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and had the support of that group. From there, the pool just grew as more and more people connected with our story.

What was most surprising about the entire process?

It was very surprising how quickly we got funded once the opportunity was opened up to the public, within five days, I believe! I believe we were successful because our story is simple and relatable.

How has receiving the loan affected your business? Would you recommend that other business owners take this route?

The Kiva Zip loan allowed us to scale up and have product on hand. It has also given us the opportunity to purchase additional equipment for upcoming events. I have already recommended the Kiva Zip  loan to small business owners in the Northeast and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce through outreach presentations sponsored at lunch and learns.

Anything you would like to add?

It should be emphasized that the loan is based on character as opposed to credit. It can be difficult for some borrowers to understand how impactful a zero percent interest loan can be on the life of a business, especially because it sounds too good to be true. It may take quite a few conversations among local business owners for this to really catch on, but I believe it could be a really powerful tool in any community.

To apply for a Kiva Zip loan, visit their website. And if you have questions, email mwoodle@liscsmallbusiness.org. Happy borrowing/lending!

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