By Lucy Weberlein
Over the last 10 years, there has been an increase of 8 percent in the proportion of Hispanic business owners. However, nearly half of businesses owned by Hispanics in Austin have revenue of less than $100,000 per year. Additionally, a recent study revealed that the average funded amount for women-owned businesses was 31 percent less than the same for non-women-owned businesses.
When entire populations don’t have the right tools, resources or access to building their careers, it reduces the economic growth potential of our community.
In 2018, the Foundation launched a new giving strategy, FundATX, which directly invests in helping underrepresented entrepreneurs in Central Texas. PeopleFund, one of FundATX’s investment partners, is dedicated to creating economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved entrepreneurs.
Below are a few stories of how an investment in FundATX supports aspiring local business-owners and leaders:
In 2015, Kelene Blake-Fallon began formulating the idea for a subscriber-based, online streaming platform that highlights films by underrepresented artists. She founded ColorReel Film Platform to bring together people of color, women, those with disabilities, LGBTQ+ and those in emerging markets. Kelene is passionate about creating opportunities for artists and building an inclusive society through diverse media representation. In addition to film streaming, ColorReel will also offer a mini-incubator program for emerging filmmakers to further develop their craft and connect with industry professionals. PeopleFund provided working capital for Kelene to get her business up and running.
After spending over 11 years in the engineering design and construction industry and recognizing the lack of woman-owned civil engineering firms, Mia Parton founded Aeparmia Engineering PLLC (AEPARMIA) in 2017. AEPARMIA is a woman of color and LGBTQ-owned professional civil engineering firm that provides services to Government, Telecommunication, and Land Development markets. Mia designs storm drains, water distribution and wastewater collection systems, as well as transportation methods that are essential to building and protecting our communities. She is deeply involved in her community serving on a number of non-profit boards, National Association of Corrosion Engineers, American Water Works Association National Health as well as currently serving as the City of Austin Water and Wastewater Commissioner.
So Natural Organic
Located just minutes from Fort Hood, So Organic is a restaurant, market, and natural health service emporium. Co-founded by Jameel and Luvina Sabree with the goal of helping to support local farmers and providing healthy food to the community, every meal from So Organic is prepared and cooked from scratch on their premises. Luvina, a Chicago native and former registered nurse, wanted to see her newfound Central Texas community eating healthier while her husband was stationed at Fort Hood. From their juice detoxes, daily nutrition meal caters and their restaurant, So Organic, is dedicated to making the community healthy one meal at a time. Working capital from PeopleFund enables Jameel and Luvina to purchase equipment and expand their business.
Austin Business Recycling Services
Recognizing the need for better commercial waste solutions in Austin, Amoriss Mallett founded Austin Business Recycling Services in 2016. Amoriss works with each customer to create a custom plan, including scheduled pick-ups and on-call service. Materials accepted for recycling include hard plastic, mixed plastic with color, Styrofoam, densified styrene, clear plastic, cardboard, pallets, scrap metal and paper. Amoriss currently has four full-time employees and three part-time employees to help run her rapidly growing business. A small business loan from PeopleFund enabled Amoriss to purchase new equipment including a GreenMax A-C200, Conveyor and Automatic Cutter to further expand ABRS recycling services.
We’re proud to support these and other PeopleFund clients through FundATX. Learn how you can invest in the growth and development of local entrepreneurs at FundATX.org