The Aspen Institute Latinos & Society Program (AILAS) announced today it has garnered grants totaling nearly $1.7 million from prestigious partners dedicated to advancing prosperity for under-served business and entrepreneurial communities.
Specifically earmarked for the Aspen City Action Lab, the grants included $600,000 from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, $500,000 from Google.org, $375,000 from The Coca-Cola Company and a $100,000 each from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“Latinos are launching companies at a faster rate than other groups and accounted for 52% of net job growth in the past decade. This success occurred despite many having little formal business education, nor access to capital and supportive networks enjoyed by other demographics,” says AILAS Executive Director Domenika Lynch. “The support of the Kauffman Foundation, Google.org, the Coca-Cola Company, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will make a real difference in helping the City Action Lab unleash the full dynamism of this underserved sector of our nation. The resulting growth will help boost our entire economy.”
The Aspen City Action Lab unites Latino small businesses with local entrepreneurial and civic leaders to spur economic growth and share ways to expand business opportunities. The object is to close a wealth and opportunity gap that widened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues addressed include how to access private capital, apply for public funding, and leverage digital technology to expand the customer base.
Latinos are launching companies at a faster rate than other groups and accounted for 52% of net job growth in the past decade.
The Aspen City Action Lab launched as a pilot program in 2021 with communities in Chicago; El Paso, Texas; Miami; Phoenix; San Antonio; and San Bernardino, Calif. This innovative initiative is aiding Latino-majority cities in generating long-term, inclusive economic growth through data-driven, community-informed approaches. Having built partnerships with more than 70 cross-sector leaders in these cities, City Action Lab is also building nationwide networks so that more cities can be added when the pilot phase concludes.
The award from the Kauffman Foundation, an organization committed to advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success, bolsters efforts to systematize the program’s design so that it can benefit future cohorts of participating cities. The funding will also help support the annual Aspen Latino Business & Entrepreneurship Summit, which assembles public and private-sector leaders to uplift policies, practices and programs supporting Latino business owners and entrepreneurs.
The grant from Google.org, the technology giant’s philanthropic arm, will boost the lab’s action-oriented strategies to prepare the workforce development ecosystem for the challenges and opportunities brought by the increasing digitalization of the economy.
The Coca-Cola Company is a central partner in AILAS’ efforts to shift the narrative around Latinos and their contributions to the competitiveness and resilience of the American economy. The company’s giving supports City Action Lab’s overall initiative as well as efforts to expand the participation of Latino businesses in our nation’s supply chain.
The funding from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the nation’s largest nonprofit supporting Hispanic American higher education, and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the largest Hispanic business organization, representing 4.7M+ Hispanic-owned businesses,
are also in support of the overall Aspen City Action Lab initiative.