Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Empower Women Entrepreneurs: Astia & Kiva's Impact with Cisco Support


Cisco Social Innovation Investments (SII) and the Cisco Foundation collaborate with nonprofit organizations globally to invest in fair and innovative technology-driven solutions that generate meaningful and scalable impacts, particularly in underserved communities. A crucial aspect of Cisco SII and the Cisco Foundation's mission is supporting opportunities and partnerships that promote equality for promising entrepreneurs and businesses often overlooked. Learn more about two of Cisco’s partners, Astia and Kiva, which are actively engaged in providing opportunities and resources for entrepreneurs and their ventures, and discover ways to support both organizations.



Astia's investment team provides invaluable expertise and support throughout the funding process, significantly accelerating the growth of startups they invest in. With less than 3% of venture capital directed towards women-led startups with female CEOs, and only 0.3% towards companies led by Black or Latina women, Astia stands out as a global pioneer in investing in innovative ventures led by women.

Through initiatives like Astia Edge, they aim to address the funding disparity, particularly focusing on Black and Latina CEOs. Cisco's funding and strategic guidance have facilitated the development of Astia Connect, a technology platform connecting thousands of experts with companies globally, eliminating bias in investment decisions.

Thanks to Cisco's support, Astia has expanded its impact, reviewing over a thousand companies, including those led by Black and Latina CEOs, representing billions of dollars in investment opportunities. The portfolio companies of the Astia Fund demonstrate diverse representation in terms of gender, ethnicity, and leadership roles, with solutions addressing various UN Sustainable Development Goals. Some notable successes include companies like Candesant, Goalsetter, and Mae Health, each making significant strides in their respective fields, from healthcare to finance, and garnering recognition for their innovations and impact.

Interested in contributing to Astia's mission of leveling the investment playing field? Here are two meaningful ways you can get involved:


  1. Join the Astia Advisor Community: Join an international community comprising industry experts, investors, and serial entrepreneurs dedicated to fostering the success of women in high-growth entrepreneurship.
  2. Invest in one of the Astia Funds: Astia offers a range of investment funds that allow investors to align their values with their financial investments.

Kiva, an international nonprofit founded in 2005, is committed to expanding financial access to empower underserved communities. Here's how you can support their mission:

Cisco's support has been instrumental in enabling various Kiva initiatives, from investing in early-stage ideas to scaling global replication efforts. Cisco's funding and strategic guidance have facilitated the design and testing of innovative loan products, including initiatives tailored to the U.S. market. Additionally, Cisco's technology donations have enhanced Kiva's scalability and efficiency.

In 2021, Cisco's support helped Kiva accelerate lending and capacity building for aspiring and existing underserved small business owners in the U.S. By expanding the Hub model to nearly a dozen new cities, Kiva has further increased its support for black entrepreneurs in the U.S., aided by Cisco's Social Justice grant-making program.

As of 2023, Kiva U.S. operates nationwide, with numerous Hub and trustee partners. The program has witnessed substantial growth, reaching 10,000 borrowers and disbursing $69 million in 0% interest loans, with 72% supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color entrepreneurs, including 36% supporting Black entrepreneurs like Kiki.

Partnering with 60 Decibels in 2022, Kiva conducted interviews to measure the impact on borrowers' lives. The results are compelling, demonstrating that Kiva loans have prevented business closures, provided vital financing alternatives, and improved business outlooks for many borrowers.

Looking ahead, Kiva aims to support an additional 7,500 systemically marginalized individuals in the U.S. by 2028. Cisco remains committed to supporting Kiva's efforts to reach Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities in the U.S. with increased financial access.

Here's how you can engage further:

  • Explore Kiva's impact outcomes for U.S. borrowers.
  • Learn more about Kiva's commitment to supporting systemically marginalized communities in the U.S.
  • Make a Kiva loan to support a Black, Indigenous, and/or Person of Color entrepreneur in achieving their business goals.