Peer-to-peer car-sharing company Turo has teamed up with microloan provider Kiva to create the Turo Seed Initiative, reports Ars Technica. This pilot program, will provide interest-free loans of up to $15,000 to Black entrepreneurs in select cities. According to Turo’s website, participants can crowdfund an interest-free loan on Kiva.org for up to $7,500. Then, Turo will match the amount raised dollar per dollar.
Similar to Airbnb’s home-sharing model, Turo allows owners to list their personal vehicle on its website to rent. Since launching in 2010, the car sharing marketplace has grown to more than 14 million users, with more than 450,000 vehicles listed. According to Crunchbase, the California startup has raised more than $460 million from high-profile investors.
Though anyone can apply to the program, the Turo Seed Initiative was specifically created to fill a need in underserved communities.
“Our commitment of up to $1 million in funding to address the growing wealth inequality in the United States is not only the right thing to do, but a necessity,” said Turo CEO Andre Haddad in a statement. “Traditionally, minority communities have more difficulty procuring fair loans, receiving access to credit, and have been disproportionately impacted by the effects of COVID-19. Kiva and Turo have aligned principles of creating economic opportunity for all regardless of race or background. We have a responsibility to break down systemic racism and foster more economic growth opportunities for disenfranchised communities and are thrilled to be launching the Turo Seed Initiative.”
The Turo Seed Initiative uses crowdfunding as a solution for participants that might face barriers when applying for a traditional car loan. “This will make it easier for people who don’t have existing assets or the right credit score or doesn’t own a car to be able to get started that way,” Haddad told TechCrunch. “They borrow the money and only reimburse the capital.”