As a new project for fiscal year 2012, the County intends to fund a Proposer or Proposers that can leverage County funding to act as a loan reserve in order to gain access to additional funding to provide small loans of money to low-income entrepreneurs through the expansion of an existing microlending system. The Program will ultimately help provide loans to individuals and businesses who would not be candidates for traditional bank loans. In that respect, the project will enable many small businesses and new start-ups that lack adequate access to credit an opportunity to enrich the flow of funding into our community and help support the local economy.

While banks provide loan capital to the most credit worthy borrowers, many small and start-up businesses in our community cannot meet the necessary criteria to access traditional bank financing. In addition, County residents interested in starting or expanding small business ventures may lack specific business skills, necessitating that training & support be paired with the loans in order to increase the chances of success. Microlending organizations (as an alternative to credit cards, loans from family and friends, and even with disreputable ‘loan sharks’) can help to fill this borrowing gap.

Microlending programs have increasingly had a strong and growing presence in Multnomah County, in the United States, and around the world over the past 20 years. However, while microlending as a practice is currently offered in the community, the existing microlending programs active in Multnomah County provide only the capital base to serve a small fraction of potential clients.

View the "Microlending Request for Proposals ".