RISE serves communities within Los Angeles County, particularly South Los Angeles, a region that is suffering from some of the highest unemployment in Los Angeles County as well as the nation.
financial security initiatives for vulnerable populations
We know that the knowledge of basical financial education concepts, such as budgeting and credit management, and how to use them is a vital skillset regardless of income, capacity to save, and employment status. Because so much of everyday life interacts, at some level, with an aspect of financial security and/or asset management it’s no surprise that it forms the foundation for many types of social programs developed to serve economically and socially impacted groups.
Data and research from these programs has also led to revisioning how financial education practititioners can best design and deliver workshops and counseling to generate even more impactful and sustainable outcomes.
RISE is currentlly looking at how we can borrow these new findings along with the nuanced understanding of our community and evolve the next iteration of our financial education programs. The key communities where we would like to effect change include low-income households in South LA, homeless veterans, and Spanish-speaking immigrant groups.
revolving equity fund
While most small businesses are run by credit-strapped “solopreneurs”, the term small business in popular culture recalls an image that wanders far from reality. The application of the term small business and the programming designed to support it often come with assumptions about the business owner that don’t reflect the current landscape of entrepreneurship, and usually, despite serving a broad range of businesses, are only reasonable for founders whose business has reached a certain maturation in the life cycle of their company.
For this reason, the role of the CDFI is critical in addressing these resource gaps and assuring that entrepreneurs, on the micro-level, have access to the capital, networks, and expertise they need in order to thrive.
RISE pioneered the the peer-based lending model, inspired by Grameen Bank, in South LA. Our Capital Partners program offers graduated microloans up to $5,000 to borrowers with no or compromised credit histories. Moving in to 2021, we would like to revisit this model in a fresh way.
Renewed interest in South LA has encouraged a wave of development in the area; mostly on behalf of new small businesses opening up shop within its corridors. In what is historically considered a “food desert”, South LA is slowly evolving into a destination for coffee shops, vegan restaurants, and other businesses – attracting food entrepreneurs from around the city. Many of these emerging businesses will still confront the persistent challenges of accessing capital, technical assistance, and other resources that are needed to thrive. Additionally, legislation around cottage foods, street vending, and home kitchens present new opportunities for community-based organizations like RISE to create programming around these recent changes.
The proposed Micro-Kitchen Network offers workspace, training, and access to resources specifically designed to support these emerging entrepreneurs. As the only commercial kitchen and food incubator in South Los Angeles, the Micro-Kitchen Network would be a necessary asset for micro and small business owners looking to develop sustainable food enterprises.
lending on the blockchain
The exponential rise in the interest in cryptocurrencies cannot be ignored. By 2019 cryptocurrency had a market value of USD 1.03 billion. It is projected to reach USD 1.40 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 6.18% during the forecast period.
While Bitcoin, Ethereum, and select alt coins dominate the conversations around cryptocurrency, we are most excited about the revolutionary ways in which this technology can be utilized.
Blockchain is the technology that enables cryptocurrency, among other things, to operate. The blockchain acts as a decentralized ledger of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network that allows participants to confirm transactions without a need for a central clearing authority. The potential applications that can built on top of this technology are exciting. From fund transfers, settling trades, voting, secure sharing of medical data, personal identity security, music royalties tracking, and more.
What does this mean for small business? Many things. For one, equitable access and the opportunity to level the playing field for under-served and underrepresented entrepreneurs.
Bloom BLT (Bloom Smart Token) is an application built on the blockchain that allows organizations, like RISE, to collect payment histories, attached to lending products, that evaluates a user’s identity and creditworthiness measured by a BloomScore.
The BloomScore is a pathway for business owners and consumers to build credit histories that better reflect their creditworthiness, protect their identities, and engage in “smart contracts” that empower at-risk users. The BloomScore is portable, safe, secure, and can be shared anywhere – regardless of language or location.
The VEIR (Veteran Entrepreneur-in-Residence) program offers an emerging entrepreneur the opportunity to incubate their small business idea and receive wrap-around business development services (from capital to mentorship) to launch and grow a sustainable business.
Entrepreneurs under the VEIR program will receive special access to RISE workspaces, in-house technology, and personalized programming. As the program grows, participants will benefit from an evolving network of industry experts, investors, founders, and other disruptors aligned to our mission of creating a robust ecosystem of entrepreneurs in and outside of South LA.
SAVE LA is a unique 24-month accelerated savings account program that leverages human social networks commonly found in informal savings groups, along with high accelerated interest rates to 1.) Incentivize consumers to accumulate savings for the long-term 2.) Modify savings behavior and 3.) Increase consumer awareness in the sphere of financial services and products.
Peer-based financial products have proved a successful tool to leverage social collateral as a safeguard against early or trivial withdrawals from long-term savings plans. Its design borrows concepts from micro-enterprise that suggest successful outcomes and asset accumulation in settings where a borrower’s history of payments affects not only the individual but the group to which he/she is assigned.
SAVE LA is projected to open 250 accounts over the span of two years and generate $442,740 in cumulative savings for the program.
WeWork (closing), Fine Arts Building
811 W. 7th St, Los Angeles, CA
female-founded small businesses
microloans granted from our revolving loan fund
jobs created and/or retained
Are you an industry expert?
Whether you’re a banker or a graphic designer, we’re always looking to grow our database of volunteer industry experts that have a passion to educate, amplify, and mentor our small business owners. If you have a bright idea for a program, workshop, or any other way you can help us support our clients, we would love to hear from you.
Are you an entrepreneur or founder?
We are in the business of supporting emerging and underrepresented business owners just like you with the tools, resources, and networks to take your business to the next level. We have over 20 years experience building our reputation as a premier organization in South LA. Come join us.
A community that invests together, rises together.
“People in this country have enslaved us, have burned our thriving cities to the ground, and still we rise. I have not tempered my optimism whatsoever, in fact I am doubling down on my optimism…I think there will be multitudes of millionaires and billionaires, and successful investors and founders who are black and brown over the next 10 years and beyond.”
Arlan Hamilton, Founder, Backstage Capital