Esther Han, OBDC’s marketing fellow, interviewed Paula Groves. Paula has joined OBDC as the Vice President of Business Consulting. Paula brings over 20 years of experience in private equity, venture capital, and entrepreneurial financing. She possesses in depth-knowledge regarding what it takes for an entrepreneur to gain a loan or an investment, and is responsible for ensuring entrepreneurs receive the consulting assistance they need to grow successful businesses. Paula said, “my lifelong commitment has been about lowering the barriers to accessing capital for under-served entrepreneurs.”
How do you think OBDC is improving the community?
A 2014 Wall Street Journal article reported that US Small Business Administration loans to African Americans only totaled 2% nationwide. In the last fiscal year, 30% of OBDC’s loan originations in Oakland went to African-American owned businesses. This is momentous evidence of OBDC’s impact on communities of color, which I believe will help them achieve long term economic success. This type of impact is the American Dream in action.
What continues to motivate you?
I view myself as a conduit for others to make the world a better place. Working with entrepreneurs has created that impact, and I have seen the multiplier effect resonate in our communities through both jobs and joy. In the past, I have helped launch an arts center, increase donations for non-profits, and bring a new game to the market. I love working with these feel-good companies that make our lives a little richer.
What do you love about working at OBDC?
What I love most is the variety of viewpoints. The folks at OBDC have a wide range of backgrounds crossing geographic, social, and professional categories, and they all contribute to our operations. Their perspectives have led us to discover optimal ways to analyze transactions and implement new programs. I believe the best solution often results from combining a number of strong ideas rather than relying on a single suggestion.
Anything else you would like our readers to know?
I am a very curious person. I love travelling and reading about other cultures. I have lived in Italy and been to 25 other countries including Tanzania, Turkey, and Brazil. I am competing with my husband to see who can visit more countries; he has a temporary 7 point lead. Recently, I took a trip to Dubai which underscored my belief in the importance of economic development for all people in society.