Lupe Fiasco and Di-Ann Eisnor, an angel investor and Google Waze executive, have started a one million dollar search for entrepreneurs in underserved, marginalized neighbourhoods. It's called the Neighbourhood Start Fund, and it begins in Brownsville, New York this November 13.
According to a profile in Fast Company, Fiasco and Eisnor met at the Henry Crown Institute, and shared a passion for looking for talent in places overlooked by the tech industry. They decided, along with with Liveperson CEO Robert LoCasio and the Dream Big Foundation's Pernell Brice, to begin their search in Brownsville, New York, a struggling neighbourhood near Brooklyn.
Residents will be able to pitch their ideas this November 13 for a chance to win $5,000 to build prototypes, along with "access to mentorship and free technology services." The article notes that preliminary meetings with Brownsville locals has been extremely promising: "Every entrepreneur was black (most, too, were women)."
The profits from the start up selected by the Neighbourhood Start Fund will stay in Brownsville and boost the local economy. "It’s very important to me that this is not philanthropy, that we have real economic engines and real wealth coming to these neighborhoods," Eisnor says. "If one success comes out of this, then other investors will take it seriously. We want to be the on-ramp to something more sustainable."
Eisnor and Fiasco hope to develop the Neighbourhood Start Fund into a $100 million dollar enterprise, and to be in at least a dozen neighbourhoods by the end of next year. Read the full article at Fast Company.