Rapper Lupe Fiasco has taken a break from his bizarre yet well intentioned commentary on social issues and releasing lukewarm music to do some good for the community. Earlier this week the Mid-West talent announced the launch of a non-profit organization that he co-founded. The imprint has been coined The Neighborhood Start Fund. The company’s mission is to support entrepreneurs and start-ups from areas that do not typically have the resources to get new ideas and projects off of the ground.
The outlet is set to provide: access, networks, workshops, mentoring, and funding. The plan is for the non-profit to start with specific areas and help people turn their concepts into businesses. These businesses will then in turn further the regions they are in by generating revenues, a tax base, and jobs. Additionally, this will provide individuals who live in these areas with prime examples that success and economic prosperity are possible in spite of the usual disadvantages that lower income individuals are faced with. Members of the collective will travel to poverty stricken neighborhoods all over the globe to host idea competitions. During said competitions potential candidates will pitch their ideas to judges from food, retail, entertainment, and technology industries. The Neighborhood Start Fund’s first venture is scheduled to take place next month. Things are slated to kick off in Brooklyn (NY) in the Brownsville area. Winners from this initial run will be awarded $5,000 to turn their ideas into prototypes. The fund will ultimately be housed at the Dream Big Foundation’s new center and cafe which opens in 2016. If readers would like more information about the non-profit they can visit the organization’s official website here.
**My Two Cents: I gave Lupe Fiasco a little crap at the beginning of this post but this non-profit news is dope. I think it’s a great concept that will do a lot to boost the morale in lower income communities. Which is very much so needed for numerous reasons. I’d be interested to see how things pan out for participants once they get passed the prototype phase. If the organization really sticks with the winners and helps them to get their businesses fully established on a long term basis, this could truly be the start of something epic. Hoping everything works out for the best. -MinM