Oakland Economy Now - News from the City of Oakland - Vol 39 March 2018

Oakland Economy Now masthead volume 39 March

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Oakland Business Section Heading

Watermelon with Kiva carved into it

KIVA Oakland Breaks Records

Kiva, the global crowdfunding loan platform for entrepreneurs, is active in 86 countries and has handled over $1 billion in funding. Kiva Oakland is the largest U.S. operation (yes, bigger than New York City,) with over 530 Oakland entrepreneurs accessing 0% interest loans since the program began. Over 23,000 people have made loans through Kiva to Oakland businesses, backed by 56 Trustees, including the City of Oakland. Other highlights and successes include:

  • Over 70% of Kiva loans in Oakland have supported women entrepreneurs
  • Over 80% have supported entrepreneurs of color
  • Over 40% supported start-ups or entrepreneurs in their first year of business

To learn more about lending through Kiva Oakland, please contact Business Assistance Center Coordinator Juno Thomas.

Chow Oakland image courtesy of Hoodline

Photo credit: Cirrus Wood/Hoodline

New Restaurant/Market Chow Oakland a Case Study for Opening a Business in Oakland

Chow Oakland celebrated its grand opening on Piedmont Avenue on February 14. In addition to being an innovative new concept for Chow's fourth Bay Area location, the combined market/restaurant is also the perfect case study for working with Oakland's Business Development team. Chow’s project consultant came to the Business Assistance Center in early 2015 and met with the BAC's Juno Thomas and Retail Specialist Keira Williams. The City's Business Development team worked with Planning to permit the cocktail, grocery and restaurant combination, facilitated financing, and assisted with media promotion. Owner Tony Gulisano says the combined restaurant and market fulfills his dream to “transition from restaurateur to restaurateur-grocer.” For more information on opening your business in Oakland, contact Business Assistance Center Coordinator Juno Thomas.

Oakland's Nominees Go Head to Head at the East Bay Innovation Awards

On March 29, Oakland and neighboring cities will celebrate outstanding companies at the East Bay Innovation Awards at the Fox Theater. Four Oakland companies are nominated, including Grid Alternatives in the Clean Tech category, Key Source International in Engineering & Design, and, in an exciting showdown, plant-based burger maker Impossible Foods competing against tofu stalwart Hodo Soy in the Food category. The East Bay Innovation Awards are hosted by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance and San Francisco Business Times to highlight the competitive advantages of the East Bay. For more information, please contact Economic Development Coordinator Aliza Gallo.

Development Section Heading

Casa Arabella Rendering

This article is part of a regular series on the International Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit line. Rendering of Casa Arabella courtesy of The Unity Council.

BRT Update: Fruitvale Phase II Breaks Ground

Last Friday, the Unity Council and East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation broke ground on the Fruitvale Transit Village Phase II, a $60 million, transit-oriented development project that includes a new, 94-unit, multi-family housing development dubbed “Casa Arabella.” Located on the City-owned BART parking lot, the development will be steps away from the Fruitvale BART station, a major AC Transit hub, and the planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line. The Unity Council, an Oakland-based social equity development corporation, created the Bay Area's first successful transit village at Fruitvale under founder and former CEO Arabella Martinez. Her namesake building will provide permanent affordable housing for close to 400 residents. For more information, please contact Public Private Development Manager Patrick Lane

Civic Innovation Section Heading

Civic Design Lab Model for Innovation

Civic Design Lab Launches in City Hall

Oakland City Hall has carved out space for civic innovation with the recently-launched Civic Design Lab (CDL), located on the 9th floor of City Hall. CDL brings together City staff with community members and private sector partners to apply human-centered design and systems thinking to public sector problems. The Civic Design Lab has already advanced top priority civic efforts, including a redesign of the City's Rent Adjustment Program, proactive Code Enforcement, Financial Empowerment and Summer Youth Jobs. For more information, visit www.civicdesignlab.org

national Recognition Section Heading

Wakanda Forever Projection on side of Henry J Kaiser Convention Center

#WakandaForever - Blockbuster Movie The Black Panther Shines a Big Light on Oakland

(This article contains spoilers) If you've seen the blockbuster Black Panther, you know that it ends with the establishment of the Wakanda International Outreach Center here in Oakland to share the Black Panther's superior technology and right the legacy of slavery and oppression. Not just a gracious cinematic gift to Oakland, the scene has also struck a chord with Oakland's fantastic network of tech educators, many of whom operate local STEM centers. #YesWeCode's Van Jones highlighted local organizations Hidden Genius Project and Black Girls Code in his movie review on CNN. Disney's investment of Black Panther profits in a STEM Innovation center at the Boys and Girls Club, part of a $1 million grant shared with other cities, follows over $10 million invested over the last few years in Oakland schools and programs, including those hosted at OCCUR’s David E. Glover Technology Center and Google’s Code NextStudent enrollment in computer science courses at Oakland public schools has increased 400% to one of the highest rates in the country, while nonprofit Tech Exchange continues its mission to provide every Oakland student with a computer and affordable Internet. We're thrilled to see Oakland's local STEM heroes get a superhero on the big screen. 


Opening a Business? Contact us!

Business Assistance Center

New! Business Permits Navigator

New! ZoningCheck

Quarterly Economic Dashboard

Minimum Wage & Employment Laws 

KivaZip Oakland

Foreign Trade Zone


Coloso Coffee (relocation)
Diaspora Co.
The Hideaway
Judoku (second location)
Nyum Bai
Marufuku Ramen  


Center for Socially Responsible Business 10th Annual Conference
Mar 9 @ Mills College

Uptima Presents: Start your Entrepreneurial Journey
Mar 12 @ Impact Hub

Economic Development Forum: BRT
Mar 14  @ Oakland Metropolitan Chamber

Perfecting Your Pitch
Mar 15 @ Alameda SBDC

Bay Area Entrepreneurship Alliance 1st Quarterly Meeting
Mar 14 @ OakStop

Spring Sales Bazaar
Mar 15 @ Impact Hub Oakland

East Bay Entrepreneur Pitch Fest
Mar 22 @ Alameda County SBDC

East Bay Innovation Awards
Mar 29 @ Fox Theater


'The Oakland I'm From'
March 2018, Governing

‘Black Panther’ success leads to $1 million donation to STEM centers in Oakland, other cities
Feb 27, East Bay Times

Supersized Plans and Problems for this BART Adjacent Project
Feb 26, SocketSite

Filipino Pop-Up FOB Kitchen Will Take Over Juhu Beach Club in Oakland
Feb 23, SFEater

A 102-year-old East Oakland warehouse has been reborn as offices and artist studios
Feb 22, San Francisco Business Times

Something Massive Opens Oakland Office to Target Bay Area Startups
Feb 22, Globe Newswire

The Hood Incubator: Oakland, Calif., Organization Empowers Black Communities to Take Ownership of Cannabis Industry
Feb 22, The Root

Reem Assil continues meteoric rise with new fine-dining restaurant at Jack London Square
Feb 21, San Francisco Chronicle

Smokin' Woods BBQ and Roderick's Signal a Barbecue Revival in Oakland
Feb 21, East Bay Express

East Oakland’s Urban Planetary Streetwear
Feb 21, East Bay Express

How Nite Yun Brought the Cambodian Immigrant Experience to Oakland
Feb 21, SFEater

Port of Oakland Volumes Rise 4.3% in January
Feb 20, Transport Topics

A Queer, Female Entrepreneur is Taking Back Turmeric for Indian Farmers
Feb 19, KQED

Oakland's Authentic Bagel Company Faces Uncertain Future
Feb 19, East Bay Express

Developer proposes innovative model for 100 live/work units in West Oakland
Feb 18, San Francisco Business Times

Congratulations 6th Annual Best of the Bay Winners!
Feb 16, NAIOP

James Beard Awards: See How Oakland Fared
Feb 16, Patch.com

Huge new Chow restaurant opens on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland
Feb 16, East Bay Times

Lake Merritt Construction Enters Final Phase
Feb 15, Hoodline via ABC7

The future of Downtown Oakland
Feb 15, KALW

In Downtown Oakland, The Kon-Tiki Makes Food You'll Actually Want to Eat
Feb 14, East Bay Express

Being a Foodie Is More Expensive in These Cities, Study Finds
Feb 14, GoBanking

A Guide To Oakland's Taprooms & Beer Bars
Feb 13, Hoodline

Investors, Developers Are Chomping At The Bit For A Piece Of Oakland
Feb 13, BisNow

That’s not LaCroix. It’s La Fizz, a sparkling ale from Oakland’s Temescal Brewing
Feb 12, San Francisco Chronicle

 ‘Oakland Is Hot' And Everyone Is Finally Noticing 
Feb 7, BisNow

Housing Goes Modular
Feb 6, East Bay Express

West Oakland’s Magnolia Editions makes art happen
Feb 5, East Bay Times

Open house focuses on wish list for Montclair Village
Feb 2, East Bay Times

Rockridge project’s future uncertain; high costs, retail downtown blamed
Feb 2, East Bay Times

The Illuminaries Are Behind Some of Oakland's Most Iconic Murals
Jan 31, East Bay Express

Pandora to Expand in Atlanta Because Oakland Is Too Costly
Jan 31, Bloomberg

A's FanFest Showcases Oakland Waterfront's Potential
Jan 30, East Bay Express

Another contender for Oakland's tallest new building unveils design
Jan 29, San Francisco Business Times

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