At a recent staff meeting, SWIF’s microloan team shared Mohamed’s story.
In 2004, Mohamed came from Somalia to the United States. After becoming a naturalized citizen in 2010, he worked and lived in Minneapolis. By the time 2014 came, Mohamed wanted to return to his rural roots–he made the move to Silver Lake and started Chicken Head Farm.
He started from scratch, working to address the needs of the Somali, Ethiopian, and Arab communities. Not more than six months later, he decided to add fresh goat meat to his operation. In need of funding, Mohamed turned to Kiva, a financing tool used by SWIF’s microloan team to support small business in southwest Minnesota.
Kiva is a crowdfunding website that allows borrowers to apply for loans at zero percent interest. After the loan has undergone an underwriting and approval process, lenders can fund the loan in $25 increments or more until the goal amount is reached. SWIF is a trustee and can endorse projects in our region. The amount Mohamed needed was $10,000 and by the end of October, which he’ll repay to borrowers over the next three years. Now he’s able to complete the remodeling of his meat processing center.
Program coordinator Berny Berger has seen the profound effect that small loans can have on people’s lives firsthand. With the holidays in mind, Berny bought her grandchildren a “gift card” to Kiva so they can learn about business planning, lending and charity.
This allows for individuals to use their gift card to help fund businesses they believe in. In the spirit of truly giving back, people are able to help bring to life the dreams of people in their own community or around the world. Kiva also has created a gift shop featuring artisans who have been empowered by Kiva loans.