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News in brief

May 14, 2022 at 1:43 a.m.

Business hub Kiva to offer microloans

New entrepreneurial startup hub Kiva Little Rock will soon offer microloans and other support to underserved entrepreneurs and small-business owners in Central Arkansas.

The start of the hub will be marked on May 25 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Sidney S. McMath Library at 2100 John Barrow Road in Little Rock.

Small-business owners can get zero percent interest crowdfunded capital loans from $1,000 to $15,000. The hub will also serve as a support and provide technical assistance to borrowers and small-business owners.

FORGE Community Loan Fund and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation worked to establish the Kiva Little Rock hub.

Capital Access manager Itzel Velazquez will lead the hub. She is also the Little Rock business consultant for Conexion de Negocios Latinos, which provides support to Latinx business owners.

"Kiva microloans are helpful for entrepreneurs who face barriers to accessing traditional means of capital," Velazquez said in a Friday news release. "Loans granted through Kiva are made up of five to 20 initial loan contributions of as little as $25 before launching on a national scale, where a borrower can access up to $15,000 at zero percent interest with no fees," the release said.

Kiva is an international nonprofit based in San Francisco.

-- Cristina LaRue

Volatile week hits crypto investors

NEW YORK -- It's been a wild week in crypto, even by crypto standards.

Bitcoin tumbled and one of the cryptocurrency industry's highest-profile companies lost a third of its market value.

The price of bitcoin dropped to around $25,420 this week, its lowest level since December 2020, according to CoinDesk. It steadied around $30,000 Friday, but that's still less than half the price bitcoin fetched last November.

Some bitcoin fans claim the digital currency can protect its holders against inflation and act as a hedge against stock market declines. Lately, it's done neither. Inflation at the consumer level was at 8.3% in April compared with a year ago, a level last seen in the early 1980s. Bitcoin has dropped about 37% year to date.

Other cryptos have fared just as poorly. Ethereum has dropped 44% and dogecoin has fallen 53%.

Coinbase lost about a third of its value this week. Investors had been dumping Coinbase even before Coinbase reported a $430 million quarterly loss. Shares closed Friday at $67.87, down from $429 about 13 months ago.

-- The Associated Press

State index climbs to 800.24, up 16.35

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Friday at 800.24, up 16.35.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Print Headline: Business hub Kiva to offer microloans

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