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Louisville Businesses Turn To Crowdsourcing For Loans

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A new crowdsourcing website is helping Louisville area businesses get zero-percent interest loans based on their unique needs and projects.

Metro Louisville has partnered with the non-profit Kiva, which began in 2005 and allows anyone to loan $5 or more to projects of their choosing.

So far 16 Louisville area businesses have taken advantage of the partnership, including Ben Abel, who operates Rootbound Farm with his wife, Bree Pearsall.

One of the biggest challenges for young and small businesses like Abel's is raising the money to invest in expensive equipment and resources, he said.

Abel said with the help of 160 individuals around the world he got a $10,000 loan with no fees attached that will be paid back over three years. With the loan he’s purchased equipment for harvesting sweet potatoes..

But said the biggest value for him is helping build the small business community.

“Once we got introduced to the platform and saw how it helped us we also got excited to help other farmers here in Kentucky and across the nation. So we’ve given out several small loans as well,” he said.

KIVA said in a news release that it began the program to help small businesses that often don’t get loans because they’re too young or inexperienced.  The group said larger loans are available to small business owners who successfully repay their Kiva loans.