Entrepreneurship drives economic growth, job creation, and innovation. However, Black and Latinx small business owners face challenges accessing capital and resources. To address this, The DEC Network partnered with Economic Impact Catalyst (EIC) in 2022. This panel presents findings and actionable strategies to bridge the capital gap through an Entrepreneur of Color Fund (EOCF). By understanding disparities, exploring remedies, and fostering collaboration, we can aim to create an inclusive ecosystem for entrepreneurs of color nationwide. Over 50% didn’t apply due to fear of rejection, validated by 59% small business owners who were declined by non-profit lenders. Changing underwriting rules can close the capital gap.

Moving forward, concerted efforts by government, financial institutions, and community organizations are needed to provide training, mentorship, and capital to talented Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. With the proper support systems in place, BIPOC businesses can thrive and make important contributions to the economy. We invite you to download our free presentation slides from the IEDC 2023 Annual Conference in Dallas, TX. 

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Areas of Expertise

Whether you require data-driven market research, nuanced policy analysis, insights from community engagement, or strategic guidance, we are equipped to deliver valuable information and perspective. Our consultants take a thoughtful, evidence-based approach to every project. We leverage our expertise to provide customized support that meets the unique needs of each client.

Entrepreneurship-Led Economic Development

As a company founded by an immigrant person of color who struggled to find the resources to grow his first small business, we are uniquely positioned to help entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities build wealth, autonomy and improve outcomes for their communities. If you have a question about how economic developers can support and prioritize entrepreneurs, we can help.


Technology-Enabled Development

The historic events of the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice movement have revealed that the traditional entrepreneurship infrastructure in the United States—particularly in the areas of banking and finance—has failed underserved communities. We can speak to the power of data-driven technology to help the American economy overcome our equity challenges and create greater opportunity for all.

"Hub and Spoke" Models

Ecosystem builders are increasingly using a “hub and spoke” model to improve program design and inclusivity. The hub and spoke model allows for the creation of a centralized structure to leverage funding opportunities and improve entrepreneurial outcomes and outreach. We can share examples of hub and spoke models being developed in rural and urban ecosystems across the country.

Data Collection and Impact Measurement

Ecosystem builders need data to inform their work and support fundraising efforts. Moreover, they need a system that eases the burden of data collection, management and analysis. We can advise on best practices for collecting data to track program efficacy and resource gaps, report outcomes, design interventions and change policy.

Discussion Series

The EIC Catalyst Network’s perspective on how entrepreneurship contributes to wealth creation, autonomy, improving the standard of living and empowerment for individuals from BIPOC communities.

Breaking Down Barriers Podcast

Our “Breaking Down Barriers” podcast is an ongoing conversation on innovation led by David Ponraj and guests from the entrepreneurship-led economic development community.

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