Fostering small businesses in communities of color

May 4th, 2016
“Build From Within Alliance" convening hosted by ProsperUS Detroit at the offices of Southwest Solutions.

Our ProsperUS Detroit recently hosted an important convening of programs from six different cities dedicated to developing ethnic and immigrant small businesses in urban neighborhoods.

The programs are all based on a successful model developed by Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) in Minneapolis/St. Paul. NDC was founded by Mihailo Temali in 1993, and he serves as its executive director. Mihailo helped facilitate the discussion at the convening, called the “Build From Within Alliance.” In addition to the Twin Cities and Detroit, programs from Albuquerque, Philadelphia and Syracuse were represented. The discussion focussed on lessons learned and strategies going forward to improve and promote the model, evaluate its impact, connect with complementary community development work, and develop additional funding and resources.

Also represented at convening activities were New Economy Initiative (NEI),  W.K. Kellogg Foundation, New Solutions Group, Aspen Institute, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Davidson Foundation, and the City of Detroit.

“The convening was an extraordinary experience,” said Kimberly Faison, director of ProsperUS. “”We had two full days of discussion, and we shared best practices and discussed how this model of place-based business development in communities of color can disrupt poverty. As Mihailo says, concentrated poverty needs concentrated opportunity. And that is what the model strives to do: help concentrate opportunity.”

To date, ProsperUS has provided small business training to more than 460 entrepreneurs, and about 120 are in business or the startup phase. ProsperUS has also provided 17 small business loans, totaling nearly $300,000.

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