Richmond’s small companies benefit from a loan program.

A matching-loan scheme assists small company owners in reestablishing themselves and keeping their doors open.

The Metropolitan Company League (MBL) assists firms in the Richmond region in applying for Kiva loans, which are offered to small business borrowers at no interest or fees.

Tawann Scott, a Richmond resident, followed her goal and quit her online work at a mortgage business in October to launch Marie’s Hair and Nail Supply on Brookland Boulevard.

“There was the back and forth of whether I should do it. Should I abstain from doing so due to the pandemic?” Scott inquired. “However, things did not go as smoothly as I anticipated, but we opened it on time.”

Scott struggled to obtain a loan from a bank since her firm was less than six months old, and she had the requisite business background.

“I had never worked for myself before,” Scott explained. “I worked from home for a corporation, so it was a significant obstacle that I needed to overcome.”

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Scott leaped at the opportunity to obtain funds to develop her store when she learned about the Kiva loan program through MBL.

To qualify, she had to first campaign among friends and family to demonstrate her investment, as the loans are based on crowdfunding. Scott then exposed her fundraising website to millions of investors nationally, and she garnered enough support to reach her $8,000 goal in less than a week.

She utilized the monies to stock her store with merchandise and shelves and promotion.

“Without it, I may be unable to sell the things I require,” she added. “Perhaps my marketing would not have thrived, which would have placed me in a rut, so thank you for keeping us open.”

According to Sharon Grooms, capital asset manager for the MBL, Kiva loans varies from $5 to $10,000. The MBL is the only Kiva hub in Virginia, which means they support small companies like Marie’s Hair and Nail Supply.

“We develop relationships with any candidate within our area, which is Greater Richmond, really Central Virginia,” Grooms added. “I learn about a customer simply by speaking with them and learning about their business. And we recommend them when we feel they are ready.”

Funds are disbursed to small businesses less than a week after completing their fundraising goal through Kiva. Additionally, the MBL has a grant matcher, Virginia LISC.

“They match dollar for dollar, so if someone pays $25 to your campaign, LISC, their gift or contribution is matched within an hour,” she explained.

Grooms and the MBL are to assist in the survival of Richmond’s small companies.

“It is critical to support local businesses since they are an integral component of your community,” Grooms stated. “Those are the people you’re undoubtedly familiar with.

They are your neighbors, and they offer a product or service that you may require. You do not have to travel outside your neighborhood to help them.”

You do not have to be a member of the MBL to apply for a Kiva loan with their assistance.

Additionally, the MBL is preparing to provide another $250,000 in grant funds as part of its “We Care” recovery award program.