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Indian American entrepreneur’s non-profit Kiva wins $500,000 in Google Impact Challenge

Initiative by Google.org helps aspiring non-profits in the San Francisco Bay Area.

By Sreejith Vallikkunnu

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Premal Shah (official blog of kiva.org)

Kiva, a San Francisco-based non-profit organisation lead by Indian American social entrepreneur Premal Shah, was among the top six organisations that gathered most votes in the Google Impact Challenge Bay Area. The organisation co-founded by Shah will receive $500,000 as a grant.

Google Impact Challenge Bay Area announced the winners on October 21.

Most voted top six organisations will receive a grant of $500,000 and remaining four among the top ten finalists will receive $250,000 grant. Organisations will also receive support from Google volunteers, and access to co-working space at the Impact Hub Bay Area.

“Thank you to all the Kiva supporters who voted in the Google Impact Challenge. Because of you, Kiva was awarded the grand prize of $500,000! We are so excited to continue growing our impact locally and globally with the Kiva community,” Talea Miller, senior brand marketing manager of Kiva, wrote in their official blog.

Founded in 2005, Kiva connects people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the Internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, the organisation lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. The micro-lender company provides 0 percent loans to small businesses around the world, in over 80 countries, and locally in Oakland and California.

Shah, who is also Kiva’s president was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and selected to Fortune magazine’s “Top 40 under 40” list for his work as a social entrepreneur. His inspiration for Kiva came when he was volunteering in a slum in India while on leave from PayPal, where he had been an early employee and principal product manager.

The Google Impact Challenge Bay Area is an initiative by Google.org to help the aspiring non-profit organisation in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It provides grant and Google support for projects with innovative approaches, ambitious plans to improve the lives of local residents. They have received 800 applications this year.

The other finalists in the competition were City Year, Bayview/Hunters point community legal, the Reset foundation, the hidden genius project, 826 Valencia, the big lift, Yerba Buena center for the arts, Talking points, Essie justice group.