Last updated January 7, 2013

Partner Description:

Rent-to-Own is a social enterprise that supports entrepreneurs in rural Zambia by providing financing and access to productive assets at low prices. The organization also offers a holistic set of services including delivery, installation, training, and repair for their equipment to give entrepreneurs the highest possible chance of succeeding.

Founded in 2010 with the help of Engineers Without Borders and Forest Fruits Ltd., Rent-to-Own has served more than 600 clients in rural Zambia, creating $1.5 million in sustainable income and over 500 new jobs.


Kiva lenders’ funds are used to test new forms of asset financing to help more clients in new and innovative ways. For example, Rent-to-Own has identified the need to provide more support to clients through a franchise model. This new approach could reach thousands of farmers and shop owners, but finding financing for this is difficult because the model is not yet proven. Kiva lenders’ funds will be used to test this innovative model and make it scalable across the region.

A unique lending approach:

Most small business owners in Zambia live a 20-hour drive from the capital city, which makes the purchase of equipment costly and challenging. Rent-to-own uses a product catalogue for clients to purchase equipment needed to grow their businesses and a network of local agents who leverage their social networks to decide if clients are credit-worthy. Once clients are approved, Rent-to-Own provides delivery, installation, training, and repair services for their equipment.

Margaret brought an oven from Rent to Own to grow her cooking business.



The typical entrepreneur has a cash income of $1,000 to $5,000 a year and employs 2 to 10 people. Rent-to-Own focuses on entrepreneurs who can generate new revenue with the right tools and equipment, and who are in remote areas that are underserved. By sourcing the products themselves and organizing delivery and installation, Rent-to-Own is able to provide products at a fraction of the cost in most cases.

Learn more about Rent-to-Own’s work and impact:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzV2mJHVAjo

In addition to providing low-cost assets, financing and a holistic set of support services for these assets, Rent-to-Own delivers a wide variety of trainings ranging from business development to record keeping. These classes ensure that clients can maximize their earnings from the equipment.

Rent-to-Own joined Kiva through our Experimental Partnership Program, and has therefore received a lighter level of due diligence. Accordingly, loans associated with this partner carry a higher level of risk than typical Kiva loans.

Repayment Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Start Date On Kiva Mar 1, 2013 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $81,325 $586,524,650
Amount of raised Inactive loans $0 $575,375
Number of raised Inactive loans 0 493
Amount of Paying Back Loans $60,500 $119,938,425
Number of Paying Back Loans 54 126,745
Amount of Ended Loans $20,825 $466,010,850
Number of Ended Loans 41 592,750
Delinquency Rate 2.68% 3.39%
Amount in Arrears $1,124 $2,666,127
Outstanding Portfolio $41,947 $78,651,892
Number of loanDelinquent 5 10,408
Default Rate 7.55% 1.15%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $1,573 $5,337,667
Amount of Ended Loans $20,825 $466,010,850
Number of Ended Loans Defaulted 4 16,806
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 0.29% 0.08%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $238 $480,684
Refund Rate 4.33% 0.77%
Amount of Refunded Loans $3,525 $4,496,250
Number of Refunded Loans 2 5,040

Loan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans to Women Borrowers 20.62% 74.17%
Average Loan Size $875 $418
Average Individual Loan Size $875 $656
Average Group Loan Size $0 $1,827
Average number of borrowers per group 0 8
Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country $1,800 $3,433
Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP) 48.60% 12.19%
Average Time to Fund a Loan 1.23 days 5.58 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $712.54 $75.01
  Average Loan Term 6.63 months 10.31 months

Journaling Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 38 292,969
  Journaling Rate 75.51% 42.41%
  Average Number of Comments Per Journal 0.00 0.08
  Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal 0.00 1.89

Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2011 data)

    This Field Partner Median for MFI's in Country All Kiva Partners
  Average Cost to Borrower 22% APR 74.00% PY 33.64% PY
  Profitability (return on assets) N/A 3.2% -1.40%
  Average Loan Size (% of per capita income) N/A 10.00% 41.35%

Country Fast Facts

Field Partner Staff

Mark Hemsworth
Brian Magee
Mubanga Nsomi
Jeffrey Scheidegger