Business Bits

Umpqua reaches Kiva micro-loan goal 

Umpqua Bank, a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corp., has reached an initial goal of deploying $1 million in micro-loans through Kiva, which uses a crowdfunding approach to provide micro-loans to entrepreneurs. Since April, the Umpqua Bank Loan Fund has supported nearly 200 BIPOC and women entrepreneurs, addressing a critical gap in access to funding for many micro- and small-businesses.

Anyone can help support and grow small businesses, and promote local job creation by visiting Kiva and choosing an entrepreneur they want to support with a loan of $25 or more. Entrepreneurs apply directly to Kiva’s U.S. site at to fundraise on the platform and are connected to millions of Kiva lenders. It also enables local lenders to make direct loans to entrepreneurs in their neighborhoods. Small business loans crowdfunded through Kiva U.S. are offered at 0% interest with no fees and available to borrowers who may be rejected or underserved by traditional lenders.

Umpqua established its $1 million loan fund with Kiva earlier this year as part of its Small Business Empowerment Program to accelerate the ability of underserved entrepreneurs to access micro-loans offering 0% interest. Umpqua’s loan fund provided a 3:1 match to contributions from thousands of individual funders for small businesses in Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho.
“Creative partnerships with organizations like Kiva are critical to expanding the funding ecosystem for small businesses so more entrepreneurs can access the capital and resources needed to succeed,” said Eve Callahan, Umpqua’s chief marketing communications officer.

To date, 185 business owners have been supported through the fund, which matched loans crowdfunded by more than 10,200 people across the globe. The businesses supported by Umpqua-matched loans represent a range of sectors including 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% were directed to women business owners; 42% were directed to Black and African American business owners; 22% were directed to Latino and Hispanic business owners; 32% have been in operation for three years or more; and 26% have been in operation for one year.

A representation of the businesses supported by the Umpqua Bank Loan Fund include: Sibeiho, based in Portland, a Singaporean food startup co-founded by Holly Ong and Pat Lau; In Focus Productions, based in Lakewood (Washington), 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 (Washington), a black woman-owned and operated sustainable floral micro-farm founded by Susanne Bell; Blynd Essence Inc., based in Fresno (California), which provides affordable shared housing for individuals with mental illness and financial hardship, founded by Rizpah Bellard; and Umi Organic, based in Portland, which produces Japanese food products through organic farming methods, founded by Lola Milholland.

Lead forward in 2023 

Start the new year off right and get a foot up on the competition by attending CREW Portland’s 2023 Forecast Breakfast on Jan. 13. The annual event offers insight into trends that industry experts expect to see in the coming year.

John Chang, senior vice president in research services with Marcus & Millichap, returns as guest speaker for the event, which will feature the theme “Leading Forward: Reinvesting and Reimagining Required.”

The breakfast will be held at the Hyatt Regency Portland at the Convention Center. The cost is $75 for CREW members, $100 for non-members. Tables of eight are available for $800. No refunds will be provided after noon on Jan. 9.

For more information and registration, visit

Grant opportunities

Relief for restaurants: DoorDash and Hello Alice have joined forces to create the $1 million Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund. The fund will provide grants to restaurants across the U.S. that have been negatively impacted or affected by natural disasters. To be eligible, restaurants must be experiencing hardship due to a state-, tribal- or federally declared natural disaster; operate in a brick-and-mortar location that has been open for at least six months; and have a demonstrated need with a clear plan for use of funds. Applications must be submitted by Dec. 30. Apply online at

A perfect match in Tigard: Interested in opening a storefront small business in the rapidly growing Tigard Triangle area in Tigard? The city of Tigard’s Triangle Business Opportunity Fund has matching grant funds available to help cover construction costs for tenant improvement build-outs. Grants of up to $50,000 are available for eating and drinking establishments; retail, personal services and professional services businesses are eligible for up to $25,000. Visit the grant program page at to view criteria, including a map of included commercial areas and an application.

Small business growth fund: Hello Alice is awarding four small business owners with $25,000 grants to help them make their next big move in the new year. To be eligible, a business must have less than $1 million in annual revenue, a commitment to their customers and community, and a clear plan to use the grant funds. Applications for Round 4 are open now through Jan. 6. Apply online at

SoGal grants for Black women entrepreneurs: SoGal Foundation’s Black Founder Startup Grant program has $5,000 and $10,000 cash grants available for Black women and non-binary entrepreneurs. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Application Fee: None. Apply online at

Amber Grant for women: Each month, WomensNet’s Amber Grant Foundation gives away up to $30,000 in grants to women entrepreneurs. At the end of each year, all monthly winners are eligible for two $25,000 overall annual grants. Applications are due by the end of each month. Applications not selected for a grant will automatically be submitted for the next month. Application fee: one-time $15 fee. Apply online at