Umpqua Bank recently announced that its crowdfunding partnership with Kiva has reached the initial goal of deploying $1 million in microloans. Since April, the Umpqua Bank Loan Fund has supported nearly 200 BIPOC and women entrepreneurs. The initiative responds to their commitment to addressing a critical gap in access to funding for many small business owners.
Umpqua established its $1 million loan fund with Kiva earlier this year as part of its Small Business Empowerment Program. Offering 0 percent interest, the program aimed to accelerate the ability of underserved entrepreneurs to access microloans. Umpqua’s loan fund matched contributions from thousands of individual funders 3:1 for eligible entrepreneurs in Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho.
“Creative partnerships with organizations like Kiva are critical to expanding the funding ecosystem for small businesses. A lot more entrepreneurs can access the capital and resources needed to succeed,” said Eve Callahan, Umpqua’s chief marketing communications officer. “In just a few months, our Umpqua Bank Loan Fund through Kiva has helped nearly 200 under-resourced entrepreneurs access early-stage capital. That’s so important in starting and growing a small business.”
“We join the team at Umpqua in celebrating this incredible milestone. We achieved our goal far more quickly than we’d initially expected,” said Tess Murphy, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Kiva. “It’s innovative partnerships like these that enable Kiva to continue growing our impact. We are able to reach even more entrepreneurs with critical access to funding. We’re grateful to work with Umpqua to address the funding gaps for small business owners.”
The Umpqua Bank Loan Fund in action
To date, the fund has supported 185 business owners, matching loans crowdfunded by more than 10,200 people across the globe. The businesses supported by Umpqua-matched loans represent a range of sectors. This includes the service industry, food, retail, health, agriculture, education, arts and entertainment, and more. The average loan amount across all borrowers so far has been $8,300. The Umpqua Bank Loan Fund replenishes as loans are repaid, multiplying the bank’s initial $1 million commitment.
Of the 185 businesses supported through the Umpqua Bank Loan Fund:
- 60 percent were directed to women business owners.
- 42 percent were directed to Black and African American business owners.
- 22 percent were directed to Latine and Hispanic business owners.
- 32 percent have been in operation for three years or more.
- 26 percent have been in operation for one year.
Businesses supported by Umpqua Bank and Kiva partnership
A representation of the businesses supported by the Umpqua Bank Loan Fund include:
- Sibeiho, based in Portland, OR, a Singaporean food startup co-founded by Holly Ong and Pat Lau.
- In Focus Productions, based in Lakewood, WA, a Veteran and Black-owned photo and videography production company founded by Darwin Peters and Shartrice Peters.
- Serenity Valley Flower Farm, based in Gig Harbor, WA, a black woman-owned and operated sustainable floral microfarm founded by Susanne Bell.
- Blynd Essence, Inc, based in Fresno, CA, which provides affordable shared housing for individuals with mental illness and financial hardship, founded by Rizpah Bellard.
- Umi Organic, based in Portland, OR, which produces delicious Japanese food products through organic farming methods, founded by Lola Milholland.
How Kiva works
Through Kiva, anyone can help support and grow small businesses and promote local job creation. By visiting Kiva.org, they can choose an entrepreneur they want to support with a loan of $25 or more. Entrepreneurs apply directly to Kiva’s U.S. site to fundraise on the platform and connect with millions of Kiva lenders. It also enables local lenders to make direct loans to entrepreneurs in their neighborhoods. Kiva U.S. offers small business loans at 0 percent interest with no fees and is available to borrowers who may be rejected or underserved by traditional lenders.
Umpqua Bank, headquartered in Roseburg, Ore., is a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation and operates across Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado. Umpqua Bank stands out for its innovative customer experience and banking strategy by national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Fast Company and CNBC. FORTUNE magazine has placed the company for eight years in a row on the list of the country’s “100 Best Companies to Work For”. The Portland Business Journal has named Umpqua one the Most Admired Financial Services Company in Oregon for the 17th consecutive year. In addition to its retail banking presence, Umpqua Bank also owns Financial Pacific Leasing, Inc., a nationally recognized commercial finance company that provides equipment leases to businesses.
Kiva is a global nonprofit, founded in 2005, with a mission to expand financial access and help underserved communities thrive. Kiva unlocks capital for borrowers through crowdfunded loans supported by individuals around the world. With as little as $25, you can support entrepreneurs and small business owners with critical access to funding. Over two million people have invested $1.7 billion in opportunities, spanning more than 70 countries and 4.2 million borrowers.
Growing your business, especially when you are young, can be a difficult path. Nevertheless, books like “The Graduate’s Guide to Money” by Tana Ackerly Gildea are great guides to start with!