City of Lawrence joins program that aims to improve resources for underrepresented entrepreneurs

photo by: Rochelle Valverde/Journal-World

Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., is pictured on Jan. 31, 2023.

The City of Lawrence has committed to initiatives in entrepreneurship curriculum, resource mapping and more in an effort to increase opportunities for economic advancement for underrepresented entrepreneurs.

That commitment is part of the National League of Cities’ City Inclusive Entrepreneurship program, according to a news release from the city. The program will provide Lawrence with resources and support to help entrepreneurs of color and from other underrepresented backgrounds “achieve greater economic mobility, reduce the racial wealth gap and improve access, opportunity, knowledge and funding for historically underrepresented groups.”

To that end, the city is collaborating with Black:30, a local organization dedicated to empowering minority business owners in the community.

“We’re excited to bring vital resources to the Lawrence business community, especially historically underserved populations, through the CIE program,” Economic Development Analyst Sam Camp said in the release. “This work will create a more prosperous business environment and further advance our commitment to making Lawrence a great place to do business.”

According to the release, the City of Lawrence has committed to three initiatives:

• Engaging local anchor institutions in finding ways to increase supplier diversity through equitable procurement strategies.

• Establishing a local affiliate for entrepreneurship curriculum to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills they need.

• Identifying and connecting the small business support resources in the community to provide a one-stop hub for local business owners.

As a result of its participation in the CIE program, the city will receive direct technical assistance, access to information sharing with other participating cities and partner organizations and financial support. According to the release, the program’s network has grown to include more than 250 cities and 300 local partners, with $100 million in committed resources between them.

“Leaders of America’s cities, towns and villages recognize that racial and gender equity are key ingredients to economic growth in communities,” Clarence E. Anthony, the CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities, said in the release. “We look forward to working with new members of the City Inclusive Entrepreneurship program to bring their commitments to fruition and create economies in which everyone wins.”


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