Silatech, an organization that works to improve employment opportunities, education, and social inclusion for youth, while also enhancing access to capital for SMEs, has pledged to meet any loan that a Kiva member makes to a startup in the program.
Typically on Kiva, lenders can contribute as little as $25 to a startup, in the form of a loan that is later repaid. Silatech will contribute up to $125,000 to the program, cycling this contribution back into a central pot that will continue to support new startups in the Arab World as the loans are repaid.
Silatech CEO Dr. Tarik Yousef highlighted the issues at hand. "Millions of young Arabs are trying to make a living on their own, despite often difficult conditions and low incomes. Far too many of these microentrepreneurs lack reliable affordable capital, preventing them from building a sustainable business," he said, noting that the partnership is designed to fill this gap.
At the time of writing, 57 entrepreneurs from the Arab World, from Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, and a majority from Lebanon, all working in sectors ranging from agriculture, retail, clothing, transportation, arts, entertainment, construction, food, and manufacturing, have already begun to raise funds on the Kiva Arab Youth site.