Small businesses take center stage with Mayor Schaaf at Kiva Oakland launch

“Talk about feeling powerful– we can be the bank of our community because we love this community, we understand it and we’re going to invest in our neighbors." -Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, at the Kiva Oakland launch

On March 16, more than 800 people gathered at the Oakland Museum of California to celebrate small businesses and the launch of Kiva Oakland. The event showcased 35 local Kiva borrowers and their products, ranging from juice to floral arrangements and handcrafted piñatas. As part of the launch, all loans to Oakland borrowers are being matched by our generous funders, so it's the perfect time to support an Oakland business. 

Renee and Shana, cofounders of the social enterprise Mamacitas Cafe, spoke about their cafe’s mission to create employment for young women in Oakland. A Kiva loan supported by 142 lenders helped them buy crucial equipment and move into a brick and mortar location.

"We had already explored traditional lending opportunities but we didn't qualify for them," Shana said. "For us Kiva was a great fit because it lent us momentum without adding additional risk to an already ambitious model.”

Learn more about Mamacitas inspiring story and other Kiva Oakland borrowers in this video that premiered at the launch event:


You can also check out the Oakland Lend Local, Shop Local Guide to support borrowers from the launch event.  


Kiva Oakland is made possible in partnership with the City of Oakland, and  generously supported by and the San Francisco Foundation, our lead sponsors, as well as by Wells Fargo, Akonadi Foundation, the California Endowment, NBC Bay Area and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund. Our Kiva Oakland borrowers will also receive a 1:1 match for any loan you make thanks to OBDC Small Business Finance, Capital One and the Miller Family Foundation.


About the author

Talea Miller

Talea is excited to combine her love for powerful storytelling and her digital strategy experience. She comes to Kiva from the Kaiser Family Foundation, where she managed digital strategy for the foundation's consumer-focused PSA campaigns. Prior to that she was a reporter and producer at the PBS NewsHour for five years. At the NewsHour she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the developing world as part of the program's global health unit, covering a wide range of stories including the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, doctor shortages in Tanzania and the mistreatment of the mentally ill in Indonesia. In addition to being a news junkie, Talea enjoys photography, hiking and attempting to paint. She graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Journalism and is originally from Maryland. So she also knows a lot about horses.