Microlender Kiva announced it will begin a pilot program of loans to U.S. small enterprise.
Kiva began in Africa, and after four years has since expanded to 44 countries, mostly in the developing world.
The test will start with 45 U.S. businesses, ranging from baked goods deliveries to child care and taxi drivers.
For now, the loans are limited to New York and California, though Kiva is actively seeking new Field Partners to move in to more regions in the U.S.
The Kiva platform works basically as a middle man, providing profiles of entrepreneurs for lenders to choose from, collecting the funds to be distributed through Kiva partners, and giving the capital back to lenders (either to re-lend, keep, or donate to Kiva) once a loan has been repaid.
To date, more than $75 million for entrepreneurs in the developing world has been raised through the site.
Photo by Kiva.