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Crowd Funding Gives 2 Charlottesville Businesses a Boost - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Crowd Funding Gives 2 Charlottesville Businesses a Boost

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Two Charlottesville businesses are on the bridge to the big time thanks to a new online crowd lending program. The Charlottesville Investment Collaborative (CIC) is partnering with the online crowd funded lending company Kiva Zip to get small businesses in central Virginia the loans they need.

These loans are helping central Virginia entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level and letting them know they have fans from all over the world cheering them on.

Soon, getting ready for the Charlottesville Farmers Market will be a lot easier for the Stevie G's Gluten Free Bakery team.  Sisters Stephanie White and Sue Gass teamed up with the CIC for coaching on growing their business beyond their home kitchen. 

This week, the CIC sponsored their campaign with Kiva Zip, to surprising success.

"Our campaign launched on Monday, and by Wednesday we were fully funded." White said. "So it's been a whirlwind - it's been very exciting and humbling and encouraging and it was just a tremendous process to be a part of." 

The $5,000 loan, matched by Capital One in Richmond, will help Stevie G's take the next step in gluten-free baking.

White stated, "We are going to be able to purchase a convection oven with the funding that we received and we will be able to increase our productivity and the efficiency of how we produce and then long-term we'd like to move into a commercial kitchen."

The Happy Tomato, another Charlottesville business sponsored by the CIC, also reached its goal in less than 72 hours. 

Kiva Zip says three days to fund two $5,000 loans is a record for a new trustee.

Stephen Davis said, "It's a tribute to them and the hard work they did as well as their story and their business and what they're going to be able to do going forward."

The Stevie G's team says these three days have been humbling.

White said, "Your heart just wants to burst because this is what everybody's dream is."

The Charlottesville Investment Collaborative has an ongoing partnership with Kiva Zip. Representatives from the collaborative say they plan to launch more crowd lending campaigns in the next month or two.

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