Enhancing Community Lending Through Data
Giving tools to community leaders to support entrepreneurs.
- NetWork Kansas
- Community Lending
Network Kansas, a nonprofit organization, aimed to empower rural entrepreneurs in Kansas by providing gap financing. They developed an innovative model to give local leaders autonomy to fund entrepreneurs. They helped communities form local volunteer leadership teams responsible for loaning money to businesses and overseeing a local loan fund. Distributing money to rural communities in this way became a nationally recognized model for rural economic development. As the program grew from a handful of communities to nearly seventy communities, managing these portfolios became more burdensome. Regional managers would sift through twenty to thirty-page spreadsheets saved as PDFs. While NetWork Kansas knew the program was working as a whole, evaluating efficacy by each community was more challenging. NetWork Kansas asked Moonbase Labs to build a way to visualize the performance of each community’s loan fund. Over a few months, with feedback and input from communities and regional managers, Moonbase Labs built dashboards to help them understand critical metrics like Dollars Loaned, Average Loan Rate, Percent Past Due, and many more.
The introduction of dashboards by Moonbase Labs marked a sea change in how NetWork Kansas approached this work. For the first time, local leadership teams had a detailed report of the performance of their community that benchmarked their portfolio to others in the state. For regional managers, they no longer had to sift through massive spreadsheets. They could quickly identify communities that needed more support, and state-wide benchmarks created a gentle nudge when helping evaluate performance.
The collaboration between Network Kansas and Moonbase Labs led to a more profound understanding of the $21.5 million lent to entrepreneurs. By establishing statewide benchmarks, NetWork Kansas was able to continually raise the bar and improve the portfolio’s performance as a whole. The performance of the local leadership teams improved, and they appreciated receiving powerful tools to pair with their funding. NetWork Kansas continues to find ways to empower local communities with funding and the tools to manage those funds.
Moonbase Labs was happy to use our expertise to help NetWork Kansas advance its mission of empowering rural entrepreneurs.
To learn more about NetWork Kansas and the E-Community Lending program, visit the Network Kansas webite.