Bay Area Nonprofits Offer Support To Boost Statewide Microlending Efforts

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A statewide collaboration is underway to increase microlending in California. With self-employment as a noted labor market trend, supporting smaller businesses is seen as a way to lower the unemployment rate.

Rebekah Rachel capped out working for a massage therapist chain, but acquired the lending and the advising to go out on her own with some help from the nonprofit organization, Working Solutions.

“It allowed me and encouraged me to go ahead and…I can do it,” Rachel said.

She now has R and R Therapeutic Massage in Pleasant Hill.

“What is so true is that the world runs on people believing in each other,” said Premal Shah, co founder of internet micro-finance site Kiva.

Kiva, based in San Francisco, is partnering to reach more entrepreneurs in California.

“And now you can actually invest in people in a business partnership; not donate to them, but actually invest and really be a part of their business success,” Shah said.

The website facilitates zero percent interest loans and has a 99 percent payback rate.

“They have the lenders and we have the borrowers” said Claudia Veek with Cameo – a statewide network serving very small business with training, credit assistance and loans.

She calls self-employment “the labor market trend” and that it’s expected to grow by more than seven percent per annum in the coming years.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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