Microfinance at Berkeley

Mission: Supporting small business in the local Bay Area by offering financial resources and microloans through Kiva.

Mission:

Supporting small business in the local Bay Area by offering financial resources and microloans through Kiva.

 

About us


Who We Are

We are a UC Berkeley student-run nonprofit group that supports small businesses and entrepreneurship in the local Bay Area. While we each have different academic backgrounds, we are all passionate about creating a sustainable economy and supporting the local businesses through microfinance.

 

What We Do

Microfinance at Berkeley is a Kiva Trustee that facilitates access to 0% interest loans of up to $10,000 for small businesses in the Bay Area. In addition, we also provide a wide variety of services like business planning and social media recommendations to help businesses in any way that we can. We are currently the number one Kiva Trustee in Berkeley, having endorsed 7 businesses since its founding in 2012.

 

Why We Do It

Berkeley has the largest wealth gap in the Bay Area, according to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • In Berkeley:

    • 20% live in poverty

    • 13% are underbanked (limited access to financial resources)

    • 5% are unbanked (have no access to banking services)

  • In Oakland:

    • 22% live in poverty

    • More than 19% are underbanked

    • 11% are unbanked

Larger microfinance institutions on the Bay Area that seek to help this population typically offer loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 with interest rates from 8-12%. However, our unique partnership with Kiva enables us to help entrepreneurs who have limited to no credit histories, do not qualify for bank loans, or may not be able to afford a high interest rate. Our goal is to provide the resources needed for our borrowers to succeed, whether it be through the Kiva platform or through our consulting services.

 
 

Values

 
 

Respect

We realize we have a lot to learn about the world outside of college. That said, we also realize we have been blessed with the knowledge and resources of a top quality educational system. We regard all of our clients in the highest esteem because we know that we can learn from them just as much as they can learn from us.


Accountability

Each student invests much time and effort into developing valuable client relationships that don’t cease over summer or winter vacations. We maintain a within-24-hour response policy, and professionalism and courtesy is a must. We also believe in measurable results, and we constantly keep track of relevant data to maintain accurate impact evaluation records.


Service:

The students who are selected to be a part of Microfinance at Berkeley aren’t the ones who are merely seeking to beef up their resumes. Our team is heavily invested in the belief that service enhances the quality of life, both for ourselves and our community.