- An original line of skin products blended for people of color
- A food business specializing in jackfruit as a meat substitute in delicious Mexican dishes
- A janitorial start-up serving local businesses
These are three of the more than 60 new businesses that have received funds, loans and financial literacy training thanks to a new tool helping Valley people create jobs, thriving communities and improve the quality of life throughout the region.
With the assistance of local partners including Fresno Pacific University’s Center for Community Transformation, Small Business Majority and Funding Fresno are connecting new entrepreneurs to local lenders and business assistance providers through FundingFresno.com. Powered by resource hub Venturize.org, the website is a trusted, community-based collaboration of organizations.
Starting a business, making connections and gathering resources, is hard for anyone, especially those in marginalized communities. “This is why we have partnered with Funding Fresno and the network of business service providers to promote economic health and mobility,” said Carlos Huerta, associate director of CCT. “Funding Fresno is a one-stop shop connecting entrepreneurs and business owners to the resources available to them.”
The CCT has a long history in the start-up entrepreneurial ecosystem through its Spark Tank Pitch Fest which awards funds and training to outstanding new social enterprises, and Launch Central Valley, a business “boot camp” for entrepreneurs.
Funding Fresno’s focus is on the underserved areas in Fresno represented by the 93701, 93702, 93706, 93721 and 93725 ZIP codes. The vast majority of businesses are operated by and/or serve people of color, with more than a third operated by and/or serving women.
Founding funders are JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citibank. Other local partners include Central Valley Community Foundation, Access+Capital, Community Vision Capital & Consulting, Opportunity Fund, Fresno Metro Ministry, Fresno DRIVE Initiative, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, Saints Rest Community Economic Development Corporation, Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce, A Hopeful Encounter Inc. and Helping Others Pursue Excellence (HOPE).