Jul 13, 2023 · 4 min read

CZI Is Building Economic Inclusion Through Grants to Six Bay Area Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Community members shop for groceries and flowers, and 3 people converse over coffee. A cityscape is seen in the background.

When CZI launched its Inclusive Entrepreneurship portfolio in the spring, we did so with a vision to support and uplift community-rooted businesses and entrepreneurs serving underrepresented communities, so that they could build economic mobility and generational wealth. Today, CZI is thrilled to move a step closer toward creating this lasting impact with our first Inclusive Entrepreneurship grantees:

  • Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF) is committed to advancing an equitable financial system by deploying affordable capital, connecting entrepreneurs with business advising, education and support, and advocating for policies that support a more inclusive and healthy financial system. Through innovative partnerships and outreach strategies, we focus on underfinanced entrepreneurs — including entrepreneurs of color, low-income entrepreneurs, and women — who often lack access to the financial services they need to build and grow their businesses.
  • Creser Capital Fund accelerates access to capital and unlocks the Latinx economic growth engine’s force to promote the development and advancement of Latinx businesses to power the next generation’s future. Founded in 2020. Latinx-led CCF bridges underbanked Sonoma County Latinx small/micro businesses with the capital they need to thrive.
  • La Cocina is a nonprofit kitchen incubator in San Francisco with the mission of cultivating low-income women entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their food businesses. They do this by providing an affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance, and access to market opportunities. They focus on supporting women from communities of color and immigrant communities.
  • Prospera partners with Latina entrepreneurs to launch businesses that foster cooperation, economic independence and well-being in immigrant communities. Through their culturally-based programs, Latinas access the networks, tools and capital they need to become successful business owners and powerful community leaders.
  • Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center transforms lives and communities through entrepreneurs. They help launch and grow Bay Area small businesses, delivering a range of services in English and Spanish from training and consulting, to business incubation, access to capital, networking and special programs for women.
  • Uptima Entrepreneur Cooperative provides holistic and culturally relevant education, advising and community to support diverse entrepreneurs in creating thriving businesses in service to their communities. As a cooperative, their entrepreneurs and workers are eligible to become owners of Uptima, creating a community that invests in each other, shares in their profits, and has a say in how the organization is run.

Entrepreneurs that start businesses rooted in their communities are part of the social fabric that drives economic mobility across the United States. Yet many people in the Bay Area face a myriad of barriers in accessing capital to launch a business. CZI believes a person’s zip code should not limit their resources or predict their outcomes, which is central to our mission to support community-rooted businesses owned and operated by locals.

“When we support small businesses and entrepreneurs, we support entire communities by growing opportunities and access to economic mobility and prosperity,” said Rosa Cabrera, Senior Manager for Community. “We hope that this funding gives organizations the resources and foundation to support entrepreneurs across the region who are serving underrepresented communities.”

This grant is part of a commitment CZI has made to support racial equity across our work in education, science and in our communities so that the advances we make serve everyone, including those who have historically been underserved.

CZI is awarding grants of $500,000 to each organization. Funding will be spent over a two-year period, beginning this month.


About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our communities. Through collaboration, providing resources and building technology, our mission is to help build a more inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit chanzuckerberg.com.

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