Small Business Investment for Community Wealth

Abundant and accessible business opportunities for small businesses owned by people of color can have a profound impact on both the business owners and their local economy, particularly in historically redlined communities.

Entrepreneurs with fewer resources, many of whom tend to be business owners of color, have both the most to gain and the most to lose. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs of color are less likely to access culturally competent and relevant small business support resources in their communities and face far more barriers to accessing safe and affordable capital to start or expand their business. 

The challenge before us is to clear a path for equitable entrepreneurship that is both sustainable and facilitates the growth of household and community wealth. It’s not enough to simply support entrepreneurs of color, we need to invest in their success and the success of the communities  they operate in. 


Small Business Support for Entrepreneurs of Color

Business ownership represents an opportunity to build intergenerational wealth within families of color, narrowing the racial wealth gap. With the correct tools and supportive financing, entrepreneurs of color can increase economic mobility and are more likely to increase the availability of high-quality jobs and multi-tiered wealth building opportunities within their communities. We must invest in their long-term success.

The Greenlining Institute works to remove barriers that prevent resources from flowing directly to small businesses of color. We work with public and private partners to seed investments that help grow a more prosperous and just economy.

Successful small businesses are the cornerstones of thriving local community economies laid with the supportive hands of community partnerships and bold investments. That’s why Greenlining is advancing collaborative, trauma-informed, community-centric solutions to meet businesses where they are at and ensure resources go to where they are needed most.


Strengthening the Small Business Support Ecosystem

Greenlining founded the People of Color Small Business Network in partnership with The Alliance For Community Development and Uptima Entrepreneur Collaborative to strengthen the small business ecosystem by connecting new and existing small businesses in East Oakland to entrepreneurial support services. Focused on Black, Latino, and undocumented entrepreneurs, the network provides capacity building and technical assistance designed to support new and legacy people of color-owned businesses to navigate public and private programs designed to sustain and grow their small businesses.  

Improving Access to Capital

Greenlining actively advocates for financial institutions to improve the affordability and accessibility of small business lending and to remove barriers to access for entrepreneurs of color. We are working actively with ICA to pilot a seed capital product for businesses through the People of Color Small Business Network to address barriers to capital readiness. We also work to direct critical public and private capital resources to small businesses of color to prioritize the long-term stability of these enterprises and the communities they serve.

Addressing Systemic Barriers

Intentional divestment from communities and businesses of color can only be solved with intentional reinvestment. Through direct agreements with financial institutions to secure additional investments in traditionally under-resourced businesses and communities of color, as well as campaigns to remove policies that inhibit public support for these same businesses, Greenlining is contributing to a community-based growth economy where all entrepreneurs have the opportunity to succeed and build wealth through small business.