US RAPPER Lupe Fiasco has started a non-profit organisation to support young entrepreneurs from working class communities.
The Neighborhood Start Fund, which launched last year in New York’s Brownsville neighborhood, is expanding to a total of eight neighborhoods nationally in an effort to find more entrepreneurs in marginalised neighborhoods.
The project, the brainchild of Lupe and Di-Ann Eisnor, the head of growth at Google-owned traffic app Waze, is intended to bring start-up culture (and funding) to under-served communities as a way to create a “local micro-economic engine.”
They are soliciting ideas for start-ups that “must solve a real problem or unmet need and be able to be prototyped or piloted”
Those whose projects are chosen will receive access workshops, mentoring, and funding to help make their ideas a reality.
The Neighborhood Start Fund plans to award $5,000 to the best ideas at the monthly meetups to help turn concepts into MVPs, and then plans to invest between $25,000 and $100,000 in a select number of companies.
“We want to create excitement so that any investor is willing to invest in these neighborhoods,” Ann said. “It changes the face of what we consider to be acceptable neighborhoods for finding entrepreneurs and funding entrepreneurs.”