County's new microloan program offers money, guidance to small businesses

As part of our ongoing efforts to fuel economic growth in our community, Multnomah County recently unveiled a new microloan program that enables local lenders to provide more capital and business assistance services to help small businesses thrive.

I’m happy to announce that we have made great headway on this initiative and would like to bring two exciting developments to your attention.

County selects microlenders

After undergoing a lengthy vetting process that included being evaluated and interviewed by our local small business community, two expert microlenders have been selected to distribute nearly $1 million in loans to small businesses across Multnomah County owned by residents that are at or below the median family income. Major factors taken into account during the hiring process included ensuring that lenders had organizational values consistent with those of the county and that they were as committed as we are to making sure a diverse pool of applicants receives the money. The county is targeting business owners of color and immigrants, who often face extra hurdles when trying to secure small business loans.

The two community-based non-profit microlenders chosen to partner with the county on this mission of economic growth are  MercyCorps NW and Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon, or MESO. MercyCorps NW helps local  “low-income current and aspiring small business owners.... in order to reduce unemployment, grow personal incomes and assets, and increase economic growth.”  MESO  “seeks to broaden economic opportunities for under-served entrepreneurs by providing business support to increase growth in income, assets and business skills.”

Call for applications

Having selected the microlenders that will provide additional funds to Multnomah County businesses, I encourage small business owners to reach out to these lenders and submit an application today.

  • To apply for a microloan at MESO, give their office a call at 503-841-3351