Catalyzed in 2010 as a joint initiative between the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Spaceworks Tacoma aims to make Tacoma culturally vibrant and economically strong by training and supporting local artists and creative entrepreneurs. To support and provide visibility to local creative entrepreneurs, Spaceworks offers creatives training, professional development opportunities, and temporary space, and runs community events that highlight local artists and foster community interaction. To help grow the city’s creative economy, Spaceworks also operates an Incubator Program that offers participants small business training and peer-to-peer support. In 2015, Spaceworks expanded its programming by establishing 1120 Creative House, a facility featuring 12 affordable studios and an open shared space for community events and activities.
Sound Outreach is a human services nonprofit focused on ensuring all residents of Pierce County can achieve sustainable, independent living. The nonprofit’s Hilltop Center for Strong Families aims to provide a “cross-sector” approach to meet area residents’ needs by bundling employment coaching, access to public benefits, financial education, and counseling services, and by providing space within the Center to Tacoma Housing Authority staff and loan officers from Harborstone Credit Union. Recognizing that many area residents lack adequate transportation, Sound Outreach employees also provide services at more than 40 other locations across the county, including senior centers, food banks, and community centers.
Founded in 2000 to support tech-based spinoffs from Wayne State University, TechTown broadened its focus as it recognized that its programs could also strengthen small, neighborhood businesses. The nonprofit currently offers a range of business programs that help launch and grow both tech and neighborhood businesses at all stages of development. Between 2007 and 2016, TechTown’s programs served more than 1,800 businesses, creating nearly 1,300 jobs and leveraging more than $120 million in start-up capital.
Build Institute helps people develop ideas and grow businesses by providing access to education, resources, and a supportive, engaged community. In addition to supporting traditional entrepreneurs, the nonprofit runs Build Social, which aims to grow Detroit’s social entrepreneurship movement by teaching double and triple bottom line business practices. Since its start in 2012, Build has graduated over 1,000 entrepreneurs, 85 percent of whom are low or moderate income.
The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DECG) focuses on designing and implementing public and private sector collaborations that drive investment, create jobs, and advance Detroit’s economy. Through its D2D program, the nonprofit works to connect Detroit-based suppliers and buyers. In 2015, D2D was credited with helping small Detroit construction companies access projects totaling $228.5 million and encouraging 18 large buying organizations to commit $856 million to local purchasing. DECG’s Motor Match Program supports Detroit entrepreneurs interested in starting or growing a business by helping them identify viable spaces and then providing grants, loans, and counseling to building owners and businesses. To date, the program has supported over 760 businesses and has made $3.9 million in grants—investments that are credited with leveraging an additional $24 million.
Pathway Women’s Business Center works to support and accelerate the growth of women-owned business. The Center provides a range of a services, including business counseling, classroom training, and peer-to-peer learning, all geared to help entrepreneurs successfully start, expand, and manage their businesses. In 2015, the Center hosted 64 educational events, supported over 600 entrepreneurs, facilitated the launch of 22 new businesses, and helped clients access an additional $1.75 million in financing.
Based in Nashville, the Nashville Minority Business Center aims to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in Tennessee. To do so, the Center provides minority entrepreneurs with management and technical assistance, coordinates existing public and private resources to benefit minority business enterprises, and serves as a conduit for information and assistance to and about minority businesses. It also manages the Nashville Minority Business Development Loan Fund (also known as “The One Fund”), which facilitates economic development by providing low-interest loans to small businesses in targeted census tracks.
The Nashville Entrepreneur Center aims to connect entrepreneurs in the healthcare, music technology, social enterprise, and publishing fields to the resources they need to launch and grow businesses. Since its establishment in 2010, 325 businesses have graduated from its programs. Its graduates are credited with creating 545 new jobs and raising $86 million in capital. Committed to fostering inclusion, the Center offers scholarships to women, veterans and other minorities, and runs a podcast focused on providing insight, knowledge, and awareness into diversity and inclusion issues in Nashville.
Launched in 1999 by the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation with just 4 members, The Midas Collaborative is now a statewide network of 30 organizations committed to advancing the financial security of low and moderate income Massachusetts residents. To do so, the Collaborative runs a range of asset-building programs, which it complements with policy work focused on stabilizing income, reducing expenses for the working poor, ensuring consumer financial protections, and protecting assets. In 2016, Midas’ matched savings program supported 1,536 low and moderate income people, who saved over $1.9 million and earned $2.6 million in matches.
ICA Group aims to expand economic opportunity and self-determination by supporting initiatives that empower workers, build community assets, and root capital locally through employee ownership. Since its founding in Boston in the late 1970s by a group eager to replicate Mondragon’s cooperative model, ICA has helped start more than 30 cooperatives and social enterprises and convert dozens of companies to worker ownership, saving or creating over 10,000 jobs. In 2007, ICA formed the Alternative Staffing Alliance, a network of over 50 social-purpose staffing agencies that now connect over 30,000 people with barriers to employment to job opportunities and supportive services on an annual basis.
Based in Fort Lauderdale, the Urban League of Broward County is a community-based organization working to help Black residents secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights. Through its Entrepreneurship Center, the nonprofit supports business creation and growth in South Florida’s historically disenfranchised communities by offering a range of business development services and small loans. In 2016, the Center supported the creation of 44 new businesses and engaged 1,000 people in asset-building workshops. To increase wealth in low-income communities, the Urban League also runs an Individual Development Account program that provides a $2 match for every dollar saved for post-secondary education, business development, or homeownership.
Partners for Self-Employment (PSE) aims to strengthen the financial well-being of South Florida’s low to moderate income residents by providing financial literacy training and opportunities to borrow and save. To encourage homeownership and business development, the nonprofit has a matched savings program that provides a $2 match for every dollar saved up to $1,000. PSE also offers direct loans to small businesses seeking to grow and runs peer lending circles for new business owners. Since its establishment in 1993, PSE has supported over 8,000 South Florida residents.
NewMeAccelerator (NewMe) aims to help “out-of-the-box” entrepreneurs transform their ideas into successful businesses. The program includes 1-week residential accelerators and web-based on-going support. Since its launch in 2011, NewMe has helped minority entrepreneurs raise over $25 million in funding.