Why AEO & Why Now?
The Association for Enterprise Opportunity is the leading voice of innovation for microfinance and microbusiness. Our mission is to create economic opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs throughout the United States. We engineer transformational change through research, convening, incubation, and advocacy to foster a robust and inclusive marketplace.
In the midst of COVID-19 and civil unrest, your timely investment in Black-owned businesses is bigger than just economic impact. It is fueling the life source of the community. As most of these businesses struggled to gain access to capital prior to this uncertainty, your donation allows us to continue the vital work of building tools and services to create economic inclusion.
How Will Funds be Used?
Your funds will support our various programs and initiatives that directly support Black-owned businesses and address small business challenges that disproportionately impact them. Our portfolio of work includes:
- Tapestry Action Lab: A program to build innovative “ecosystem approaches” to address three acute challenges that impede Black business development: a massive wealth gap, credit gap, and a trust gap fueled by historic and systemic bias.
- Tapestry Innovation Registry: This online registry broadens the reach of organizations that support Black-owned businesses by sharing their work with funders, investors, and other potential collaborators. The Innovation Registry connects existing projects and innovations for Black business development with opportunities for funding and partnership.
- MainStreet RISE: A unique suite of solutions to help small businesses survive and thrive during COVID-19 and beyond. Through a collaboration with multiple partners, AEO equips small businesses with tools and solutions including business mentors, a digital presence, cash grants, and more to make adjustments that will keep them resilient on the path to recovery and stabilization.
- Policy & Advocacy: AEO works closely with policymakers on Capitol Hill and in the Administration to champion the interests of Main Street. We are often sought to provide Congressional testimony and recommendations on issues related to small business, capital access and financial inclusion. AEO is a founding member of Page 30 Coalition, a coalition of more than 60 organizations dedicated to ensuring the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act truly prioritizes, as stated on page 30 of the Act, underserved business as Congress intended.
- Research: We produce new insights and data-informed recommendations that are used to influence resource allocation by funders, guide advocacy priorities, and offer thought leadership to industry service providers, lenders and innovators to deepen their impact.