BLAZE means "Building Leaders and Accepting Zero Excuses". It is the passion that we hold ourselves to each day - and the standard we hold every partner to when they show up on our turf to edify the Black women entrepreneurs that we serve.
Since March 2021, Blaze has proudly partnered with Kiva US to bridge Black women to interest-free, zero fee business loans of up to $15,000. "In 2022, 49% of borrowers through Kiva U.S. were Black-owned businesses - including creative firms, health care providers, retail boutiques, cosmetics and beauty lines, and more," says Kathy Guis, vice president of investments at Kiva. "These 0%-interest loans are often the first step for small business owners in accessing funding. From our research, we know that we're their first engagement with formal financial services. What's more, these loans can help provide a proven track record for startup companies," Guis adds.
Become an investor in a Black woman-owned business
Join our #FundBlackWomen Lending Team on Kiva.org to be part of our mission to uplift Black women entrepreneurs through business investment. We aim to collectively fund $500,000 in interest-free business capital by 2025.
Join our other mission-driven investors who make huge impact for as little as $25! Your small investment goes a long way in leveling the playing field for Black women in business.
As a #FundBlackWomen lending team member, you will be notified when Blaze community members create new campaigns to crowdfund capital for their ventures. Once an entrepreneur's target funding amount has been reached, the entrepreneur will repay their zero-interest, zero-fee loan in monthly installments. In other words, they pay YOU back.
As a Kiva Trustee, Blaze will go the extra mile and endorse all members of the Blaze Women's Network with written campaign recommendations on their public profiles, increasing their loan approval odds and the creditworthiness of their crowdfunding campaigns.
Hey, Black woman entrepreneur!
Interested in raising interest-free, zero-fee capital through our Kiva & Blaze partnership?
Follow the steps below.
To improve your odds of loan approval, be sure that you have legally formed your business and have proper documentation. This includes having a federal EIN number and Articles of Incorporation from your state. If you are a sole proprietor, having a DBA (doing business as) would be helpful to prove your business legitimacy.
Business Checking Account
Ensure that you have opened a business checking account, which will allow you to seamlessly separate your personal and business transactions. This is imperative for improving your odds of receiving approval for a loan through Kiva.
Define Your Plan
Map out your plan for use of loan proceeds. While there is no minimum number of years that you must have been in business to qualify for a business loan through Kiva - it is imperative that you choose the right type of capital for your current needs.
Credit cards may be more optimal for cash flow timing mismatches (i.e. purchase books then selling them at a book launch 3 weeks later so that you fully repay).
Loans are best suited for investments that will make your production cycles more efficient and ultimately increase your revenue (i.e., buying a new piece of equipment).
"The loan we received is helping us educate, restore, and support women who struggle with instability in their lives"
Providing stable temporary housing for women living with the threat of homelessness
June received a direct endorsement from Blaze Group that fast-tracked her fundraising efforts
USE OF FUNDS
# OF LENDERS
We endorsed June given her organization's proven market traction, secondary source of income, and healthy debt/income ratio.
Casey Ariel Richardson, Co-Founder & CEO, Blaze Group LLC