White Paper

As we look to rebuild our local communities, the longstanding challenges for small businesses to access capital is being felt by entrepreneurs, small businesses, economic developers, and taxpayers. While traditional lending sources remain out of reach for many, innovative programs to channel capital to those historically excluded entrepreneurs and communities can accelerate recovery. Targeted grants, technical assistance, and mentorship alongside capital can improve the viability of traditionally underserved small businesses and advance equity. Collaboration across sectors and engagement of community leaders will be key to designing solutions that meet the real needs in our communities.

How can you better support your small business community? This paper explores the root causes and potential solutions, resulting in a set of recommendations for action-oriented economic developers.

We present key concepts for economic developers to act on closing the capital gap for small businesses in their communities. These concepts include:

  • Make access to capital a policy priority.
  • Retool technical assistance programs.
  • Reimagine capital and how we fund small businesses.

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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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Get in touch, or learn more about our other solutions for equitable economic development.