posted on November 17, 2020

Empowering underserved communities to take the wheel of their financial futures

Turo is proud to introduce the Turo Seed Initiative, a new program launched in partnership with Kiva to help address wealth inequality in America, by empowering aspiring entrepreneurs, especially in traditionally underserved Black communities, to jumpstart their entrepreneurial engines and start building a small car sharing business on the Turo marketplace.* 

Turo has committed up to $1 million in funding for this initiative to create more access to wealth-building opportunities, so anyone, regardless of color, gender, or creed, can start building a small business and pave their own path towards financial wellness.

Why the focus on the Black community, and why now?

Diversity has always been a cornerstone of the Turo community — Turo was founded on the principle of creating economic opportunity for all, regardless of background, ethnicity, gender, age, or any other factors that could make someone feel disenfranchised.

Invigorated by the energy of this year’s social justice movement and fired up to help drive change where we can, we wanted to focus on providing economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially aspiring Black entrepreneurs, and leveraging the Turo marketplace to help dismantle systemic racism through economic empowerment.

Minority-owned small businesses have limited access to credit

Large banks approve around 60% of loans sought by white small business owners, 50% by Hispanic or Latinx small business owners, and just 29% by Black small business owners. (1)

On average, Black-owned businesses start out with far less capital than white-owned businesses

Only 1% of Black business owners get a bank loan in their first year of business, compared to 7% of white business owners. (2)

Minority-owned small businesses have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19

Compared to an overall decline of 22% of small businesses between February and April of 2020, there was a 41% decline in Black-owned businesses. (3)

How it works

Applicants can apply to qualify for the initiative through the landing page, ensuring they meet all the prerequisites to crowdfund on Kiva and become a Turo Seed Host. Qualifying Seed Hosts will crowdfund an interest-free loan on Kiva, which Turo will match dollar-for-dollar up to $7,500 per host, to buy a car to share on Turo, cultivating, growing, and scaling their small business over time. Each successful Seed Host will be paired with a Turo Account Executive to help coach them and ensure they’re set up for success, both on Kiva and Turo.

Reducing maintenance costs with Nissan

To provide Seed Hosts with predictable running costs and peace of mind to focus on their business operations, Turo and Nissan are teaming up to provide Seed Hosts three years of free Maintenance+Plus coverage if they choose to purchase any Certified Pre-Owned Nissan or Infiniti vehicle. The extended maintenance package includes all of the benefits of a Certified Pre-Owned Nissan or Infiniti vehicle as well as pre-paid oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and tire road hazard coverage, allowing Seed Hosts to focus more on their business and less on maintenance costs. 

Want to get involved?

Want to help fund a Seed Host? Follow the Turo Seed Initiative page on Kiva and check back to contribute to the Seed Hosts as they start crowdfunding their loans!

* Anyone, regardless of race or gender, is eligible to participate. The goal of this initiative is to empower underserved communities, and to provide access to loan and business-building opportunities that systemic racism has historically stifled, so we strongly encourage minority entrepreneurs to apply, but anyone can and is eligible to apply.

(1) The Brookings Institution, reported by McKinsey on May 27, 2020.

(2) According to the same May 2020 McKinsey article.

(3) The National Law Review, August 7, 2020.

(4) Based on a survey of 4,400 American Turo community members from the Fall of 2019. Read the full Economic Impact Report here.