Premal Shah: Loans That Change Lives
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Sometimes all it takes is a jump-start. That belief is the driving force behind the work of former PayPal product manager Premal Shah, who today heads Kiva, a global microfinance organization that connects borrowers who need funding to launch poverty-transforming businesses with socially minded lenders who have as little as $25 to invest in their success. Since launching in 2005, Kiva has crowdfunded more than 1 million loans totaling $486 million in 73 countries with a repayment rate exceeding 99 percent. What makes Kiva work so well? Shah shared his thoughts on that recently with Ensia and Terry Waghorn of Forbes.
To what do you attribute Kiva’s success?
Our mission is “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” We still have a long way to go towards connecting each other and alleviating poverty. But we’ve been positively overwhelmed with the altruism we see every day on the website. This activity is the result of our model’s emphasis on personal connections and lending.