Graduating Kiva: How a $5,000 Kiva loan helped Victor gain financial independence

Story by Rachel Getz, photos by Brandon Smith

This is the final story in our series spotlighting small, independent businesses in the U.S. in celebration of National Small Business week.

Victor was born in Mexico and immigrated to America 16 years ago to provide a better way of life and future for his family. After working at a coffee shop for 7 years, Victor was inspired to open his own coffee shop and started searching for a loan. After getting denied from other lenders because of a lack of credit score and no cash flows, Victor came to Kiva. 67 Kiva lenders supported him with a $5,000 0% interest loan to open his first coffee shop.

“When you’re starting out, no one believes in you — that’s the big problem.”

After 11 months, Victor repaid his first loan and then got a second Kiva Zip loan for $10,000 to help him completely remodel his second coffee shop. With the help of a second Kiva Zip loan, Victor was able to expand his business and take out a formal income to support his family.

“For me, this is the American Dream.”

Five years later, Victor has repaid both loans and has three thriving coffee shops! Recently he was even able to secure a larger, traditional loan from one of the institutions that had previously turned him down. Victor has also become a trustee for Kiva Zip, endorsing 6 borrowers in the Latino community who have all fully repaid their Kiva loans.

“I have not only been able to accomplish my dream of ownership, but with [Kiva lenders’] support I am moving forward with my dreams of expansion.”

Victor is a great example of someone who was excluded from our financial system, but has been able to work his way into it with the help from a community of Kiva lenders! To help other small business owners like Victor, go to zip.kiva.org and make a #smallbiz loan!