San Francisco (AP) - An Internet-based lending service is about to include needy entrepreneurs in the United States for the first time.
It's a sign of the world's spreading economic despair. Kiva has spent its first three and a half years raising money to finance cash-starved small businesses in 44 impoverished countries.
Starting Wednesday, Kiva is allowing U.S. small businesses to vie for funding alongside a melting pot of entrepreneurs that includes everything from a Cambodian fisherwoman to a Moldovan butcher to a Bolivian taxi driver.
The U.S. listings will start off with about 45 businesses in Boston, New York, Miami, Atlanta and San Francisco.
(COPYRIGHT 2009 BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)