CAMEO-Kiva Collaborative

CAMEO and Kiva were involved in a joint pilot project that concluded in 2013.

The CAMEO-Kiva Collaborative is a joint effort to harness the power of crowdfunding to give Californian micro-businesses access to the capital they need to start businesses, create jobs and form the foundation of the 21st century do-it-yourself economy.

The Project

TanitraTanitra graduated from UCLA with a Ph.D. degree in Musical Arts. She teaches an after-school musical program in the Inglewood school district and gives private lessons to children. She wants to open a studio to reach more children with musical lessons, but needs a loan to rent a studio space and buy books and furniture. Because her business is a start-up, she couldn’t get a bank loan, so she approached the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) for a crowdfunded Kiva loan. (Read more.)

Start-ups and the very small businesses like Tanitra’s music school need three basic things to get rolling: small amounts of capital, business coaching and training, and connections to customers. However, the credit freeze of 2008 has not thawed for our small businesses. Traditional banks are making fewer loans under $100,000, and they are increasingly reluctant to make loans of under $50,000 — because larger loans are more profitable.

To fill this gap, CAMEO and Kiva collaborated to open crowdfunded capital to small businesses that have solid business ideas and need small amounts of capital to start up, expand, and hire or retain employees. The project launched in 2013.

As the largest network of microlenders in California, CAMEO has aggregated several nonprofit mircolenders – Fresno Community Development Financial Institution, PACE, and Working Solutions – onto, the world’s first and largest crowdfunding platform. The CAMEO microlender identifies potential borrowers, provides them with business advising services, and posts their profiles on Visitors to can choose among hundreds of small business owners and lend as little as $25 to crowd-fund the loan. With a 98 percent repayment rate, the money lent through Kiva is truly a loan, not a donation.

The more micro-businesses that receive capital to start or expand their business, the stronger California’s local economies become. Every dollar lent through Kiva helps to create local jobs, which in turn support other local businesses and communities. As small businesses grow, they support local schools, city services, and sustainable communities. A dollar spent at a local small business circulates in a local economy two-to-three times more than a dollar spent at a national chain.

Further Reading

Want to learn more about the collaboration? Here are some articles from when the program launched.


Kiva Zip is a small project through which lenders make microfinance loans directly to borrowers in the U.S. and Kenya via You can make a loan for as little as $5. Over time, as your loan is repaid, you get your money back, and you can then withdraw it, or relend it to another entrepreneur.  Trustees are people or organizations that publicly vouch for Borrowers on the Kiva Zip website. Trustees can be individuals or organizations, and they are not financially liable for loans in any way.  Kiva Zip moved into its Alpha testing phase in September 2012.

KivaZipCAHere’s the snapshot in California since 2012 as of September 2014:

Total of 145 trustees, 19 of which are CAMEO members.  Our members collectively endorsed

  • 66 loans
  • $383,500 distributed

MEDA endorsed the most loans in the state with a 98% repayment rate.
Centro Community Partners endorsed the highest dollar value of loans with $80,000 and a 100% repayment rate.
Out of the 14 trustees that made 4 or more loans, 5 are CAMEO members.
Six out of the top ten endorsers as measured by loans volume disburses are CAMEO members.