In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are sharing the story of Consuelo Poland, founder of the Latinas Welding Guild and director of RUCKUS, a flourishing makerspace in the North Mass Avenue industrial corridor of Indianapolis, where LISC has been supporting the growth of a new and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. Poland is dedicated to connecting Indy’s residents, Latina and otherwise, to satisfying work in creative, hands-on and entrepreneurial jobs, and building a supportive community for small businesses and makers in the process.
Bill Taft, the longtime executive director of LISC Indianapolis, has been named senior vice president of economic development for LISC and will be spearheading our work to grow enterprises and create jobs in the places that need them. In the following Q&A, he talks strategy, practice and what it takes to build inclusive local economies in real life.
Over the next ten years, LISC will direct 50 percent of our annual investments to fuel inclusive economic development in underinvested communities across America. That means preparing people to take on high quality, well-paying jobs. And it means ramping up our work to help small businesses succeed and transforming vibrant commercial and industrial districts. “We have no doubt that this kind of progress is good for residents, good for communities and good for the country,’ says Maurice A. Jones, LISC CEO.
Small businesses are a major dynamo of innovation and growth in our economy—they make up more than 99 percent of U.S. enterprises and create two out of every three new jobs. A partnership between LISC and the crowdfunding platform Kiva is connecting small business entrepreneurs across the country with the capital and knowhow they need to succeed.
In celebration of Small Business Saturday (Nov. 25), we're profiling emerging enterprises in the communities where we work that have benefited from LISC small business lending and support. In Boston, Northeastern University and LISC have launched the Impact Lending initiative to spur women- and minority-owned businesses and local economies that surround the university. Honeycomb Café, a bustling new locavore restaurant in South Boston’s Dorchester area, offers a picture of impact lending at its finest.