"When you borrow money and when you owe someone money, there's integrity and commitment involved," she said. "It's a commitment to grow a business."
Erik Mantsch and Shane Allen: Just Awesome
Just Awesome -- The Board Game Store
Loan Request: $7,500
Erik Mantsch and Shane Allen might seem an unlikely pair to run a board game shop. Allen works as a behavioral specialist for people with disabilities, and Mantsch is a veteran of the Iraq War with a background in sales. But they share a love of board games and opened Just Awesome in San Francisco in April.
"The board game store is awesome because we only sell board games," Mantsch said. "And board games are great tools for social interaction and it's really a community spirit ... they're a wonderful tool for an ease of interaction."
While serving in the Air Force, Mantsch learned a game from a young Iraqi that he developed into a board game, also called Just Awesome! He donates all of the proceeds from this game to Operation Iraqi Children. Just Awesome! will also pay to ship any board games to American troops serving overseas.
"The Kiva loan will really help to fine tune our rough edges and really be able to deliver outstanding customer satisfaction and have the games in stock that people are asking for," Mantsch said. "What's great about Kiva is that the individual can really help another individual or small business in their mission. What's great about the program on the Internet is you can reach out farther than you have before."
Allen and Mantsch will use their $7,500 loan for advertising and inventory and to make their business more environmentally-friendly.
"Part of this whole experience is just wonderful to share my story so that other entrepreneurs like myself would be able to fund their dream," Allen said.
Vika: Island You a Hand
Island You a Hand
Loan Request: $10,000
Island You a Hand hires out in-home caretakers, providing companionship for the elderly. With her diverse and multilingual team of caretakers, which includes Chinese, Russian, Spanish, and other foreign language speakers, Vika is able to provide a high quality of service. She founded the company in January 2009 with her own savings, and a deep commitment to her work. Vika sees an opportunity to expand into more technical medical care services, but will need to be certified by the state of California. This loan will help Vika acquire certification and hire qualified nurses for more technically demanding client placements.
Zonia: Zonia's Day Care
Business: Zonia's Day Care|
Loan Request: $10,000
Zonia provides high-quality child care and offers it to some of her community's most vulnerable residents: families experiencing homelessness. While some providers think these children and families are too difficult to support, Zonia embraces the opportunity to work with families going through a difficult time.
The 14 children in her care are a diverse group -- ranging from children experiencing homelessness to the children of international embassy staff -- and the waiting list for her day-care shows that parents value the services. Zonia has an associate teacher's permit, and her San Francisco business has created two full-time jobs.
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