Esperanza is committed to the personal development of Casco Viejo's high-risk young men. Upon completing an intensive 10-week empowerment course, graduates are given the opportunity to start their own businesses. Having completed a successful pilot entrepreneurship program, Matt now aims, with help of volunteers from MITs Sloan School of Management and VR professionals, to formalize the process of coaching and funding graduates' businesses. Help Matt create and implement this innovative model!
Esperanza San Felipe has developed a successful model for the intervention of Casco Viejo's gangs, and the reintegration of those young men back into the community. But what has become clear is that many want to start their own businesses...in need only of the proper coaching and start-up capital to realize their dreams. The blueprints for a social venture capital fund have been drawn up, awaiting only the training of it's staff and a set location to get officially off the ground.
This fund will allow us to add formal entrepreneurship training, including training of mentors, as well as direct investments in up to three new businesses. We hope it will form the foundation of a small business incubator that enables former gang members to realize their entrepreneurial dreams.
We like to paraphrase Father Greg of Homeboy Industries famous words that, "Nothing stops a bullet like a job" by saying nothing inspires a community like a successful entrepreneur who built his business from the bottom. Beyond just Casco Viejo, we will freely share this innovative model for impact investing with other communities -- and their respective marginalized populations -- around the world.