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.

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“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.

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“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.

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