Part of a number of things happening around local participation in local economic development, Oakland is now a municipal trustee for the innovative micro-lending platform Kiva Zip. Oakland announced its first 3 endorsed businesses: (there are other businesses in Oakland that you can support through Kiva Zip but it appears these are the first three endorsed by Oakland)
- Loakal Art Gallery & Boutique http://www.ebxloakal.com
- Pollinate Farm & Garden http://www.pollinatefarm.com
- OwlNWood http://www.owlnwood.com/
These small businesses will be promoted to receive loans of around $5,000 each, crowd-sourced to citizen-lenders who want to help someone's entrepreneurial dream come true. You can start lending as little as $25, which gets repaid overtime. Once these three businesses get their loans fully funded and repaid, Oakland will endorse three new ones! Visit http://kivazip.com to learn how you can become a micro lender and watch for City of Oakland endorsed lending opportunities.
In May 2013, the Oakland City Council approved entering into a Trustee Agreement with Kiva Zip, making Oakland the first Kiva Zip City Trustee in the nation. Kiva Zip is an Internet platform that enables individual lenders around the world to “crowd fund” interest-free loans directly to small business owners and micro-enterprise borrowers. These are entrepreneurs with strong business plans, who are not eligible for conventional lending. If selected, businesses can initially raise up to $5,000 and eventually be eligible for a $50,000 loan.
As a Kiva Zip Trustee, the City of Oakland’s role is to review and endorse Oakland small businesses that we believe meet the Kiva Zip criteria. In addition, the City is interested in endorsing micro enterprises that demonstrate growth opportunities, unique business enterprises that offer opportunities for the entrepreneur or other Oakland residents and, especially, micro-enterprises that are interested in locating in Oakland’s underserved commercial areas.
You can support our local businesses by making a loan donation at https://zip.kiva.org. The amount of your loan can be as low as $5. For more information, please contact Juno Thomas, Business Assistance Center Coordinator, at [email protected] or (510) 238-4727. (source: City Administrator's newsletter)