Opening Doors for Small Business Owners
By: Lauren Mobertz, eBay News Team
eBay launches Kiva Marketplace to help aspiring entrepreneurs reach global scale.
Since the company’s founding, eBay has been committed to enabling everyone to participate – and benefit – from global commerce. This year, eBay is continuing to widen the opportunities available to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, leveraging the global reach and technical capabilities of our marketplace. To this end, we are partnering with microlending platform Kiva.org to launch Kiva Marketplace on eBay.
Launched in November, the marketplace is enabling Kiva borrowers to expand their businesses to eBay’s worldwide audience of 168 million active buyers through a dedicated landing page and seller assistance from eBay specialists.
“Since eBay is all about empowering people and creating opportunity for all, it felt like a really natural fit for us to work with Kiva,” said Allie Ottoboni, Philanthropy Manager at eBay. “We hope that the Kiva Marketplace on eBay will be a lively, scalable opportunity for these entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and sustain their livelihoods.”
Kiva is an international nonprofit that allows anyone to help fund as little as $25 to help borrowers get started or grow a business or fulfill their lifelong ambition. Through this partnership, eBay is waiving the first three months of seller fees for Kiva borrowers as well as providing crucial training in marketing and ecommerce. A pilot class of Kiva borrowers is now selling everything from environmentally friendly flip-flops to granola.
“Kiva has so far only been providing access to capital to small businesses, but giving them scale and access to customers is something which has really excited a lot of our borrowers,” said Sarah Adeel, Kiva lead in San Jose, CA, who’s collaborating with our Global Impact Team to kick-start the program. “More than capital, sometimes they lack the abilities to sell or market. Having this platform is going to help them immensely.”
Kiva borrower Jannat Saxena came up with the idea to start Sumsaara while she was still in design school. Soon after earning her bachelor’s degree, Jannat teamed up with her mother and sought a Kiva loan. After being approved, the mother-daughter team began prototyping purse designs that combine functionality and aesthetics using sustainable materials.
The shipping convenience and global reach of eBay’s platform have made it easy for Jannat to start up her business. “I really like how it’s an open marketplace where I can test out a lot of new ideas,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to see what the public is responding to.”
Designer Maggie Moore is also part of eBay’s pilot class of Kiva borrowers. With her Kiva loan, Maggie is launching We the Postcard, a set of postcards created to encourage civic activism and communication with elected representatives.
The training eBay provided Maggie and her team has been beneficial. “Some of the insights that we’ve been able to get from talking with folks from eBay about promoting our products and making our listings the best has been really helpful for us as we figure out our retail line,” Maggie said.
Another Kiva borrower Martin Magana founded OSTRI Studio to promote sustainability and design. His first products are wallets, made from locally sourced wood and leather scraps, help divert waste from landfills.
Launching on eBay has scaled OSTRI’s online exposure. “Everybody shops on eBay. Having my wallets on the Kiva Marketplace on eBay brings a wide audience I wouldn’t have otherwise. eBay’s helping us to really expand,” Martin said.
The Kiva Marketplace will continue to help entrepreneurs like Jannat, Maggie and Martin grow their businesses.
Kiva.org is an international nonprofit founded in 2005 with a mission to connect people through crowdlending. The Marketplace introduces a second phase in eBay’s work with Kiva. In 2016, eBay Foundation provided $500,000 to bolster Kiva’s expansion into new counties in California, as well as engage eBay employees in a 5-year lending campaign.
You can shop handcrafted goods from Kiva borrowers by visiting the Kiva Marketplace on eBay.