Entrepreneur Works strives to create pathways of opportunity for talented yet underserved entrepreneurs. To do so, the nonprofit provides entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia region with access to microloans, business training, and one-on-one support. Since its formation in 1989, Entrepreneur Works has supported over 4,000 entrepreneurs and has made over 400 loans totaling $1.2 million.
The Women's Opportunities Resource Center (WORC) aims to promote social and economic self-sufficiency for economically disadvantaged women and their families living in Philadelphia and its surrounding four counties. To do so, WORC offers a range of programs including business training, business assistance, incentivized savings, job placement, and access to business and financial resources. As of 2016, WORC’s training programs have graduated 3,600 people and helped start 850 new businesses, and its savings program has supported 1,429 people in saving $5 million.
Established in 2012, REV Birmingham (REV) is a public-private economic development organization that fosters vibrant commercial districts by filling vacant spaces and growing sustainable businesses. The organization works out of SocialVenture, an abandoned warehouse redeveloped into a mixed-use facility that also houses the Woodlawn Foundation, a coworking space, and a small, affordable retail space. To support entrepreneurs, REV offers business development workshops and has a stall in The Pizitz Food Hall designed to serve as a rotating business accelerator where start-up restaurants can launch their businesses and receive technical assistance. To expand access to healthy food, REV’s Urban Food Project connects corner stores and restaurants in city food deserts to 40 area farms, and helps corner store owners purchase, market, and sell fresh produce.
Guided by a mission to invest in imagination and invention, Create Birmingham strives to construct and support diverse avenues for commercial and nonprofit creative success. Through its Co.Starters program, creative entrepreneurs learn how to turn business ideas into action, and upon graduation can access grant and loan funding. The nonprofit also maintains a free community calendar, which usually highlights 30,000 public events, and a free on-line platform to help match those seeking space for an exhibition, performance, pop-up or bricks-and-mortar storefront with property owners who have available rentals. The nonprofit also engages in advocacy work to ensure Birmingham’s creative industries are recognized for both their cultural and economic impacts.
Catalyzed to overcome the underutilization of Minority and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (MBE/DBE) in Birmingham’s economic growth, the Birmingham Construction Industry Authority (BCIA) provides certification, counseling, and other technical assistance to area MBE/DBE firms. Since its establishment in 1990, BCIA is credited with certifying over 200 businesses and helping MBE/DBE companies access more than $650 million in contracts and awards.
Founded by city officials and business lending organizations, the Birmingham Business Resource Center serves as a “one-stop-shop” providing area entrepreneurs with training and financial assistance. Since its establishment in 1996, the Center is credited with lending more than $350 million to small businesses.
Based in Birmingham, the Alabama Asset Building Coalition is a statewide group helping underserved Alabama residents reach their highest potential and strengthen their financial future. Founded in 2008, the coalition now includes nonprofits, community action agencies, community development organizations, United Ways, federal and state government, banking regulatory agencies, and financial institutions. The coalition’s work centers around four core activities: 1) supporting Alabama organizations involved in asset building initiatives; 2) identifying asset building opportunities and implementing new strategies and programs; 3) serving as an educational resource on asset building strategies; and 4) advocating for state and federal policy changes that expand economic opportunity.
Founded in 1903 to support immigrant populations, Grace Hill Settlement House now works in partnership with neighbors and other stakeholders in North and South St. Louis to provide opportunities for individuals, families, and communities to be stronger, healthier, and more self-reliant. In 2011, the nonprofit opened the Water Tower Hub to serve as a one-stop shop for its economic, education, and health services. Water Tower Hub includes a Head Start Center, 15 units of housing with supportive services, a branch of the St. Louis Credit Union, comprehensive employment services, and a women’s business center (which is credited with helping to create 100 jobs on an annual basis). To build residents’ capacity, Grace Hill runs a Neighborhood College program, through which residents can take courses that will help them better themselves, their families, or their neighborhoods.