Businesses owned by people of color, women, and immigrants are an increasingly important feature of a community’s economic landscape. When the conditions are right, they can grow and create jobs—and opportunities for advancement—in the very places that most need them. But to realize their potential as job creators and building blocks for increased economic activity, these businesses need access to loans, contracts, networks, and mentoring to expand their scale and improve their operations. Resources like these are vital to the growth of businesses everywhere, but have historically been beyond the reach of entrepreneurs operating in low-income communities.
Surdna’s grantees are working to accelerate the growth of these businesses by providing their owners management advice, guiding them to better operations and strategies, and helping them access and navigate federal, state, and local procurement programs. We are also encouraging the growth of more democratically owned businesses like benefit corporations and social enterprises that are governed by the people doing the work.
As small businesses grow to larger ones, our grantees are also working to ensure that the jobs they create pay above industry standards, offer full benefits, and come with opportunities for professional development. When businesses create good jobs, they are not only strengthening the foundations of the local economy, they are offering residents greater dignity, economic mobility, and an ability to provide a better future for their families.