Brandon is from North Carolina, where he studied journalism at UNC Chapel Hill. After interning at Kiva in 2012, he joined the staff full time in 2013 to serve as the Community Marketing Coordinator, Kiva's liaison with the 25,000 lending team communities. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys medium-format photography, biking around the bay, and keeping in touch with friends and family on the east coast.
We’re thrilled to announce that this morning, Kiva received a Google Global Impact Award as an entrepreneurial team who thinks on a global scale and has a “healthy disregard for the impossible.”
We’ll be using this grant to launch Kiva Labs, a new initiative that delivers the power of crowdfunding and microfinance to critical solutions in agriculture, clean energy, mobile information, and other transformative technologies.
Tech-driven solutions in each of these areas are driving progress around the world, changing lives and lifting entire communities out of poverty. Yet millions of people still lack access and vast numbers of problem solvers can’t find capital to scale their own ideas -- Kiva Labs aims to fill that gap.
Take a look at some of these technology-driven solutions that are already benefiting from crowdfunded capital thanks to Kiva Labs partnerships:
With nearly 20% of the world’s population beyond the reach of electricity, Kiva Labs partner Nuru Energy enables entrepreneurs to generate an income while also creating a self-sustaining power grid system in some of the most remote parts of the world.
Grameen AppLab is building a network of “farmer leaders” across Uganda who use mobile devices to share expert agricultural information with their small-holder farmer neighbors through its Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) initiative. These groups send out relevant information such as real-time commodity prices, weather forecasts and veterinary advice to empower locals by helping them better access markets and increase their productivity.
As part of Kiva Labs, Kiva also partnered with Solar Sister to fund loans to women entrepreneurs and bring solar solutions to energy poverty. Through its rapidly-growing network of women sales agents, it’s delivering solar lights, phone chargers and other devices to some of the most rural parts of the country. At the same time, it’s empowering women with the tools and start-up capital they need to run their own businesses and jumpstart their incomes.
Over the next three years, Kiva Labs aims to generate $25 million in crowdfunded loans tailored to the unique needs of more than 100,000 borrowers seeking flexible capital and access to solutions that work. Together with this new breed of partners, Kiva will demonstrate what works in expanding financial access and share the results with a global audience.
We’ve already started to make a difference and can’t wait to see what’s next -- find out more about this exciting new program at kiva.org/labs.