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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Investing in partnerships for inclusion and innovation: a highlight on Astia and Kiva

The Social Affect Companion Highlight collection highlights varied Cisco non-profit group companions which are serving to rework the lives of people and communities. This weblog options Cisco’s partnership with Astia and Kiva, in honor of the unbelievable work these organizations are doing to advance funding alternatives to Black, Indigenous, and Individuals of Coloration-owned companies in the US and globally.  

Cisco Social Innovation Investments (SII) and the Cisco Basis accomplice with nonprofits globally to put money into equitable and progressive tech-enabled options that present significant and scalable affect, particularly in underserved communities. Supporting alternatives and partnerships that degree the enjoying area for promising however typically missed entrepreneurs and corporations is a key driver of Cisco SII and the Cisco Basis’s means to make long-lasting affect on an area, nationwide, and world scale. Be taught extra about two of Cisco’s companions, Astia and Kiva, who’re main impactful work in offering alternatives and assets for entrepreneurs and their companies– and find out about methods to help each organizations.   


Astia logo“Astia’s funding workforce got here to the desk with the experience, they made calls on my behalf and took investor conferences with me – they breathed life into the funding course of. Inside a mere 4 months of Astia saying sure, we had vital buyers on our cap desk, and we achieved an oversubscribed spherical.”
– Tanya Van Courtroom, Founder & CEO, Goalsetter 

Lower than 3% of enterprise capital is invested into women-led startups with girls CEOs, and a mere 0.3% is deployed into corporations led by Black or Latina girls. Astia is a world pioneer investing in progressive, women-led corporations. With a repute for innovating on the enterprise capital mannequin, Astia is a beacon of success for buyers and entrepreneurs. Its mission is to degree the funding enjoying area for corporations led by girls, with a selected emphasis on doing so for Black and Latina CEOs. To deal with the intersectionality of race and gender, Astia established a transparent focus through an effort referred to as Astia Edge, a program designed to redress the funding imbalance. Be taught extra about their findings and focus on this Bloomberg interview with Astia’s CEO and obtain the Edge whitepaper. 

Cisco funding and strategic steering have enabled the event of an underlying expertise platform, Astia Join. By way of Join, 5,000+ consultants across the globe join with 1,000+ corporations annually, elegantly eradicating bias from the funding decision-making course of by leveraging technical instruments and confirmed processes. Join permits multistage, community-driven screening (Professional Sift™) and connections. Cisco’s help has enabled Astia to scale its affect from working with dozens of entrepreneurs annually, to serving a whole bunch of corporations annually. 

In 2023, Astia reviewed 1,033 corporations, together with these led by 100 Black girls and 46 Latina CEOs. This represents greater than $2.2B in funding alternatives. The present Astia Fund portfolio corporations symbolize:

  • Staff: 54% girls, 36% folks of shade
  • Management: 70% girls, 30% folks of shade
  • Board: 61% girls, 39% folks of shade
  • Options addressing 14 of the 17 UN Sustainable Improvement Objectives

Profitable outcomes of a few of these corporations embody: 

  • A group of women sitting in chairs holding microphones
    Tanya Van Courtroom, Founder & CEO, Goalsetter (in orange shirt) taking part in a panel dialogue

    Candesant: in 2023 launched Brella SweatControl Patch, FDA cleared, for the therapy of extreme underarm sweat, forging a brand new path ahead for aesthetic clinicians and the sufferers they deal with. Brella acquired the 2023 Attract Journal Better of Magnificence Breakthrough Award

  • Goalsetter: Nationally acknowledged for its real-world strategy to family-focused monetary schooling, Goalsetter is a goal-based financial savings and good spending platform that gives households with each partaking academic media and the foundational instruments for constructing wealth and was chosen by Apple as one of many high 24 apps for 2024 of their unique characteristic, “Our Favorites: 24 Apps for 2024.” with Tanya Van Courtroom being honored by in American Banker’s Most Influential Girls in Fintech  
  • Mae Well being: a digital well being answer on a mission to enhance the well being and high quality of life for underserved moms, infants, and people who love them, chosen as a finalist for the Massachusetts eHealth Institute’s Girls’s Well being Problem and spotlighted within the 2024 Digital Well being New York 100 

Eager about serving to with Astia’s effort to degree the funding enjoying area? Be a part of in two significant methods: 

  1. Turn out to be an Astia Advisor: a global neighborhood of trade consultants, buyers and serial entrepreneurs who’re devoted to seeing extra girls reach high-growth entrepreneurship.
  2. Spend money on one of many Astia Funds: Astia invests by a household of funds which allow buyers to claim their values by investments. 


Kiva logo“Since our founding, Kiva has been dedicated to addressing the finance gaps that exist for underserved communities worldwide and this work has prolonged into the U.S., the place numerous entrepreneurs lack entry to the financing they should begin or develop their companies. We’re thrilled to accomplice with Cisco in supporting Black and African American entrepreneurs by 0% curiosity loans, resulting in extra thriving companies and communities throughout the nation. We will’t thank Cisco sufficient for his or her transformational help of this essential work.”
– Brit Heiring, Director of Communications, Kiva 

Kiva is a global nonprofit based in 2005 with a mission to broaden monetary entry to assist underserved communities thrive – offering equitable entry to monetary services and products to historically excluded populations. Black, Indigenous, and Individuals of Coloration-owned companies are 3 times extra prone to be turned away by banks than non-minority-owned companies, (NerdWallet). Kiva envisions a financially inclusive world the place all folks maintain the ability to enhance their lives – specializing in 4 key areas of help: girls, refugees, systemically marginalized entrepreneurs within the U.S., and other people impacted by local weather change. 

Shawn in kitchen explaining something
Kiva U.S. borrower and small enterprise proprietor, Shawn

Cisco’s funding and strategic steering have supplied help for a wide range of Kiva initiatives, investing in early-stage concepts and experimentation, and serving to Kiva to efficiently replicate and scale these initiatives globally. This contains initiatives to design and check progressive mortgage merchandise in new markets and sectors, and the variation of Kiva’s world mannequin for the U.S. marketCisco has additionally donated our expertise to allow Kiva to scale their attain in a safe, environment friendly, and efficient method. 

In 2021, Cisco supplied help to assist Kiva speed up lending and capability constructing to aspiring and current underserved small enterprise homeowners within the U.S. and broaden their Hubs mannequin to practically a dozen new cities. That work has continued to additional improve help to black entrepreneurs within the U.S. through Cisco’s Social Justice grant-making program.  

At this time, Kiva U.S. operates in all 50 states, with 40+ Hub companions and 100+ trustee companions. In 2023, Kiva reached 10,000 debtors, a 49% improve since 2020. And, of the $69M in 0% curiosity loans funded over the course of this system, 72% has supported Black, Indigenous, and Individuals of Coloration entrepreneurs and 36% has supported Black entrepreneurs, like Kiki. 

Kiva U.S. borrower and small business owner, Renee holding products in her hands
Kiva U.S. borrower and small enterprise proprietor, Renee

To higher perceive and measure the affect on these debtors’ lives, Kiva partnered with 60 Decibels in 2022 to interview each Kiva debtors and non-borrowers. The outcomes converse for themselves: 

  • With out a Kiva mortgage, 1 in 4 debtors would’ve needed to shut their enterprise 
  • 3 in 4 debtors wouldn’t have been capable of finding a great different for financing 
  • 73% of Kiva US debtors noticed their enterprise outlook enhance 

Now, wanting forward, Kiva is dedicated to supporting an extra 7,500 systemically marginalized folks within the U.S. by 2028. 

Cisco is proud to proceed to help Kiva in reaching Black, Indigenous, and Individuals of Coloration communities within the U.S. with monetary entry. See how one can become involved, too: 


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