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Umpqua Bank Matches Microloan Contributions for BIPOC, Women Entrepreneurs

Gaby M. Rojas

Individuals or organizations interested in helping minority and women entrepreneurs secure a microloan to launch or grow a business can do so this Small Business Week (May 2-6) through the Umpqua Bank Loan Fund, a crowdfunding program with the nonprofit Kiva that will multiply every dollar contributed 10 times for eligible entrepreneurs in Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho. Donations vary in size starting at $25, and anyone interested in contributing can visit www.kiva.org/team/umpquabank to learn more and donate.

Umpqua established its $1 million loan fund with Kiva earlier this year to accelerate the ability of underserved entrepreneurs to access no-cost microloans. Any entrepreneur with “social capital”—the support of family, friends or community—can qualify to set a funding goal and raise contributions on Kiva’s platform. Kiva then combines total contributions into a 0 percent interest loan up to $15,000 that’s paid back to funders over time.

According to Umpqua’s Chief Marketing Communications Officer Eve Callahan, who oversees the bank’s partnership with Kiva, Umpqua is leveraging Kiva’s innovative crowdfunding platform and focus on storytelling to create deeper connections between aspiring entrepreneurs and ordinary people that ultimately lead to diversified community investment and prosperity. 

“Umpqua recognized a unique opportunity to partner with Kiva to combine community and capital. Through the Umpqua Bank Loan Fund, we’re creating a platform for entrepreneurs to share their stories and connect directly with people looking for opportunities to contribute to economic opportunity and justice,” says Callahan. “Recognizing the incredible importance of small businesses to our local communities and economies, we’re increasing our match to celebrate Small Business Week. We hope others will join us in helping entrepreneurs across the West Coast continue to grow by contributing any amount, small or large, that we’ll match 10 times.”

Since launching earlier this year, the Umpqua Bank Loan Fund has matched community members’ contributions 3:1, resulting in more than $400,000 in microloans that have fully financed the needs of more than 80 BIPOC or women entrepreneurs.

Umpqua Loan Fund Open to Entrepreneurs

Eligible entrepreneurs in Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho can apply for Umpqua’s matching program by visiting the Umpqua-Kiva partnership page. The initial application process typically takes between 20 and 30 minutes.

The Fund in Action

Umpqua’s loan fund has already provided microloan funding to entrepreneurs across the West Coast, including:

  • In Oregon, it equipped an immigrant family business that buys and sells artisanal goods from Mexico to diversify and expand its inventory. 
  • In California, it helped a women owned clothing business gain access to the quality inventory needed to sustain and relaunch the brand, as well financed a non-profit helping youth avoid gun violence through positive alternatives and programs.
  • In Washington, it provided a creative wedding photographer with the funding needed to purchase equipment and space to expand his business. 

Entrepreneurs across Umpqua’s footprint continue actively seeking funding through the bank’s loan fund for accelerated access to crowdfunded microloans of varying amounts. Their stories and how they will use the capital to launch a business or add new products, equipment, and jobs in local communities can be found at www.kiva.org/team/umpquabank/loans.

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