Reported by Liku Zelleke
Entrepreneurs and startups in Brownsville, Brooklyn have a champion in the form of Chicagoan rapper Lupe Fiasco who, over the weekend, announced that he is co-founding a new non-profit organization that will strive to help young inner-city innovators “turn ideas into startups.”
Lupe took to Twitter to make the announcement about his project, called Neighborhood Start Fund. On its website, the mission statement says that the organization aims to create “a neighborhood-specific fund to support entrepreneurs and start-ups from under-served areas,” and to “provide access, network, workshops, mentoring and of course funding.”
Di-Ann Esinor, the other co-founder of the non-profit, will accompany Lupe Fiasco to the kickoff of the inauguration fund that will be held in Brooklyn within the next month. Anyone looking to receive funding for their projects will have to pitch their idea (or ideas) at that time.
Esinor said, “Our first neighborhood is Brownsville Brooklyn. We’ve just opened the idea competition and the first live pitch event will be November 13, 2015. We will be housed at the Dream Big Foundation’s new entrepreneurship center and cafe opening in January 2016.”
For the moment it isn’t clear if the non-profit will stay local or if it will expand to neighborhoods out of Brooklyn and perhaps even go all the way to a national level. Many people have their eyes on it and are hoping it is the latter.
As for now, the only thing set in stone is the premise of the organization which seeks to “turn every neighborhood fund into a local micro-economic engine.” The site declares that “Proceeds of every successful exit from Brownsville are reinvested into other Brownsville start-ups! And the same goes for each new neighborhood we enter. Our goal is the first $100MM+ business from our neighborhoods!”
Lupe Fiasco has been a staunch advocate for social change in the African-American community and is considered a “conscious rapper” due to his lyrical content which infuses black empowerment and knowledge with the ruggedness of Hip Hop lyricism. This next step is only a natural progression for the emcee; only time will tell if the impact will be as meteoric as his career.