Crowdsourced Microloans Advance Small Businesses

Tammy Allen, Director | Marketing & Programs, The NIIC

Owners Receive Kiva Northeast Indiana Funding

April 15, 2021, Fort Wayne, Ind.— With an average of 188 lenders and global syndicates, at an average of $114.62 per funded loan, Northeast Indiana received an infusion of $49,000 in crowdsourced microloans since Kiva Northeast Indiana began nine months ago. This month, Kiva Northeast Indiana hit a milestone of 10 funded loans and is one of 30 hubs in the United States.

Katrina Tucker, Founder and Owner, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Emporium LLC, was the Kiva Program’s first client. “My children inspired me to start my business. One Easter, I decided to make their Easter dresses. The rest is history. When COVID hit, I needed to figure out how I was going to keep my business going,” Tucker said. “We needed some new equipment. I learned about Kiva, applied, and it all happened so fast! My funding happened in just a few days. We were able to purchase the equipment needed to keep the business going.”

Sarah Heredia, owner of Sovereign DFW, reflected on the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic created for her business. “I signed the lease for building space two weeks before the COVID shutdown. The lease was only for the space and not the full interior build-out we needed to occupy. We also needed to pay for the signage required on the building and the pylon sign.” Heredia was able to cover the cost of the new sign with the Kiva loan. “When the Kiva loan happened, we funded and were able to pay for our signage. The whole process was quick and painless.”

Heredia said the best thing about the KIVA funding was, “Seeing people from all over the world learn your story and believe in you enough to invest in you through a loan. Seeing people you didn’t know invest in you is amazing.”

Connecting the Pieces Playroom Founder and Owner Christiane Rogers used her loan to build inventory, pay rent, and payroll. “I would recommend Kiva to any business owner needing a financial boost, building business credit, or needing financial help. The best part of the process was watching lenders come in daily and then completing the funding within a few days. One of the most challenging parts of the process was deciding who I was going to ask for initial help or funding, especially during the pandemic.”

“I see my business evolving into an entity with no boundaries, making a difference in the lives of all those who come to enjoy the experience of Connecting the Pieces Playroom sensory gym.”

All in One Cakes and Events is a full-service event company founded and owned by Tee Cook. “My Kiva loan helped me to purchase new equipment and renew my Board of Health certification. My family keeps me going. As a mom of all boys, it’s important to show them resilience, ambition and that no matter how hard it gets, never give up,” said Cook.

“I recommend Kiva Northeast Indiana and share about the benefits of a KIVA loan with many others. Crowdfunding worked well for me, and it was quick. Luckily, I have a few great people who support me. Getting funded was the best part of the process! It was like accomplishing a big goal for my business.” Cook plans to open a brick-and-mortar location this year.

These are some examples of businesses funded through Kiva Northeast Indiana. “Kiva loans strengthen families and benefit our community. It was an honor to help the 10 businesses receive the funding needed to further their dreams. We look forward to helping many more,” said Jami Thomas, Grants Compliance Specialist and Kiva Capital Access Manager, The NIIC.

“We appreciate the support and collaboration among our partners to help make this program possible, including The City of Fort Wayne, SEED, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, ” said Thomas. Kiva Northeast Indiana is part of a global network of microlending centers.


Sarah Heredia, the owner of Sovereign DFW, is one of 10 small businesses in Northeast Indiana that received a crowdsourced microloan through Kiva Northeast Indiana since the program began nine months ago.

About Kiva

Kiva is an international nonprofit founded in 2005 in San Francisco, with a mission to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive.  We do this by crowdfunding loans and unlocking capital for the underserved, improving the quality and cost of financial services, and addressing the underlying barriers to financial access around the world. By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, you can be part of the solution and make a real difference in someone’s life. 100% of every dollar you lend goes to funding loans. Learn more at theniic.org/kiva-northeast-indiana/.

About The NIIC

499 new products launched, 196 patent applications submitted or granted, and 2,351 jobs created—that is what entrepreneurs have achieved through The NIIC since its inception two decades ago. The NIIC has also connected Northeast Indiana companies to attract $100.4 million in grants and capital.

The NIIC is a non-profit, vibrant entrepreneurial community designed to advise entrepreneurs to plan, launch, and grow successful business ventures. The NIIC bolsters innovative companies to move ideas into action. The NIIC is located in a designated U.S. Small Business Administration HUB Zone. In April 2018, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb designated The Northeast Indiana Innovation Park Campus as an Opportunity Zone through the U.S. Treasury. The NIIC is the country’s only ISO9001:2015 registered business incubation and acceleration program. Additionally, the International Business Innovation Association (inbia.org) recognized the NIIC as the 2020 Entrepreneur Center of the Year – Mixed-use and awarded it one of the two prestigious industry awards – the 2020 Dinah Adkins Award. TheNIIC.org. Click here for The NIIC press kit.

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