This is a sponsored post in collaboration with LiftFund. All opinions are my own.
As a storyteller, inspiration is all around me and lately I’ve been inspired by business. The stories of small business owners and entrepreneurs are powerful because they are of persistance and resiliency. Small business owners are the pillars of our community. They create and provide jobs to grow our economy.
The special magic behind small businesses is that they are built on dreams. Add in the planning, dedication, passion, hard work and you have amazing stories of success. I’m happy to announce that I am partnering with LiftFund to recognize and celebrate small business owners. This nonprofit organization recognizes the dreams of small business owners and provides them resources to propel these dreams into reality. LiftFund transforms small businesses by opening doors, leveling the financial playing field and building a community of shared success.
LiftFund Provides Financing and Advice to Entrepreneurs
As a microlender, LiftFund has provided financing to over 20,000 entrepreneurs in 13 states since 1994. The funding provides small business owners the necessary working capital for their businesses. Many of them could not secure, for various reasons, loans or credit through traditional banks. In 2017, the average loan provided was $25,424 (LiftFund 2017 Annual Report). With this support, small businesses are able to purchase equipment and supplies or make payroll to pay employees. Essentially, these microloans supported them to their next step in business.
The entrepreneurs that LiftFund serves vary across industries. They are restaurant owners, hair salon owners, builders, daycare center owners, and many more. Most importantly, they are a part of the community and provide not just services but also jobs to your neighbors, family and friends.
Loans are not the only way that LiftFund supports entrepreneurs. This organization serves as a bridge to listen to small business owners who may feel muted when it comes to their challenges. So, they offer educational and consulting services in various topics including financial education and management; access to capital; marketing and sales; credit; and much more. In fact, LiftFund provided 6,690 business consultation hours in 2017.
Creating a Legacy of Equality by Supporting Small Businesses
As the nation’s population becomes increasingly more diverse, it’s crucial that business leaders reflect the customer base. LiftFund is a majority minority run nonprofit organization and it serves majority minority clients. By doing so, LiftFund is creating a legacy of equality in San Antonio and other communities they serve.
In 2017, 57% of LiftFund clients were Hispanic and 23% of clients were African-American. However, President and CEO Janie Barrera can often be heard reinforcing that LiftFund isn’t about giving people of color a hand out but it’s about giving them a hand up. Barrera has established herself as a Latina leader as she’s been with LiftFund since the beginning and has grown the company from three employees to now over 100 team members. In the fall of 2017, Barrera received the Community Spirit Award from the Mexican American Unity Council during their 50th Anniversary Celebration for a successful career empowering individuals to create wealth and opportunities to prosper.
Often the conversation about positively impacting a minority community or a community of people of color revolves around education, social justice and social services. While I whole-heartedly believe addressing these issues are important, supporting business owners in these communities matters, too. One way to positively impact a minority community is to help close the wealth gap. We can help close that gap by supporting and growing minority-owned businesses. I appreciate that the conversation at LiftFund revolves around supporting majority minority business owners so they are not left behind.
LiftFund Celebrates 25th Anniversary
Twenty-five years calls for a big celebration! LiftFund invites the community to celebrate more than two decades of championing ownership and propelling dreams at their 25th Anniversary on March 5, 2019, at San Antonio’s beautiful Tobin Center. They will honor and recognize the hard work and dedication of not only their clients but also of their staff and donors. Join them for this special luncheon. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.bit.ly/liftfund25thluncheon.