On Wednesday, CAMEO attended a press conference for the official announcement of a new Kiva Hub in Oakland, California. The Hub is an alliance between Kiva and Centro Community Partners, with the goal of supporting entrepreneurs and small business assistance organizations in their search for interest-free microloans.
Kiva is a global crowdfunding platform that provides entrepreneurs with 0%-interest loans of up to $10,000. Since its creation in 2005, Kiva has made loans to 3.5 million people around the world with more than $1.4 billion.
At the event, which was also held to celebrate women business owners in the run-up to International Women’s Day, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf spoke about Kiva’s disruption of the traditional capital structure for small business loans and its impact on typically underserved entrepreneurs.
“In Oakland, we have funded nearly $4 million in no-interest, no-fee loans to more than 800 entrepreneurs,” announced the mayor. 75% of those loans have been to women and 80% to people of color.
Centro’s role as Oakland’s new Kiva Hub will be to provide on-the-ground support to entrepreneurs looking for microloans as well as to small business assistance organizations. As Centro’s Kiva-trained Capital Access Manager, Veronica Gutierrez will guide borrowers through the loan process and assist the organizations supporting them with access to Kiva loans. Currently, Centro serves as Kiva Hub for Oakland and will provide services to all of Alameda County in the near future.