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Launch1000, a program of the Westchester County Office of Economic Development, today announced that participants are eligible to apply for loans through Kiva, a microlending organization which crowdsources interest-free loans for small businesses.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “We are invested in the success of entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout Westchester County. Launch1000 participants having access to Kiva loans is an important step towards enhancing sustainability for these new ventures.”

Deborah Novick, Westchester County’s Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said: “The first-class education residents are receiving throughLaunch1000 and the zero-interest loans they can access through Kiva area winning combination. Our Launchers have done their market research, de-risked their concepts, made strategic refinements and will be wonderful additions to our local business community.”

Marion Henson, founder of Bloom Healthy, a grocery pop-up that offers affordable boxes of organic fruits, vegetables, fungi and herbs in and around food deserts, was the first Launcher to receive a loan through Kiva. The funds for her loan were fully raised in just three days.

Henson said: “Having access to a zero-interest loan to help get my woman-owned business off the ground is invaluable. I am so grateful to the County for offering this innovative program and for helping businesses like mine to launch.”

Launch1000 will admit its final cohort on July 26,2021. To ensure that a lack of technology does not prevent anyone from applying to the program, the Westchester County Office of Economic Development will provide laptops to participating residents who need them.