State Farm® Provides $5,000 to Support Entrepreneurial Education

April 25, 2012 Lancaster, PA – ASSETS Lancaster announces the receipt of a $5,000 contribution from State Farm Companies Foundation to support ASSETS’ Business Design and Management Course.

Funding will be used in direct support of the program – covering direct expenses in providing educational materials to clients.

ASSETS Lancaster changes lives and promotes economic development by providing business support services to aspiring entrepreneurs. It was founded in 1993 by Mennonite Economic Development Associates to complement the microenterprise work that MEDA does internationally to alleviate poverty through business solutions.

In the past 19 years, ASSETS has served over 1,500 individuals and helped to create hundreds of local businesses and local jobs. It depends on the support of dedicated businesspeople who share their experiences and knowledge through its training and mentoring program. Marco Salinas (far right in photo) is a local State Farm agent who has served as an ASSETS trainer and counselor for several years.

Supporting underserved entrepreneurs is key to ASSETS’ mission and since 1993, over 80% of ASSETS clients have been low- to moderate-income individuals, over 65% are racial and cultural minorities and well over 50% are women.

“State Farm’s mission is to be help people realize their dreams”, said State Farm Lancaster agent, Marco Salinas who presented the check at this month’s board meeting.  “State Farm connects to neighborhoods where we live and work. Organizations like ASSETS share our vision and commitment to building safer, stronger, and better educated communities.”

Small vs. Big

Came across this post today that merits sharing. Some excerpts:

“In taking on big, you can try to undercut their margins which will fail. You can try to duplicate their advertising budget, which will fail. You can try to out program them, which will fail. Or you can try to outlove them. (I know, it’s business, but at the core of relationship marketing must be relationship, which, at some level, has to be about love.) And the big boxes, whatever their industry: food, church, hardware, furniture, departments, are not fundamentally about outloving anyone.

“I always wanted the biggest box of crayons. It was always a really cool thing to have. But as I think about it now, someone that would have taught me how to color, to actually do something with 8 crayons, that could have changed my life.  I might have moved from being a consumer to an artist.

Big is about consumers. Small is about artists. Big is about changing people to your world. Small is about preparing people to change their world.”

Statistics

The Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship just released some statistics about entrepreneurship. Very interesting – the numbers for both Latino entrepreneurs and immigrant entrepreneurs has doubled in the past 15 years.

That echoes the direction ASSETS has been heading – to support Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs, immigrants and most recently, refugees.

To read more: http://www.kauffman.org/research-and-policy/kiea-2012-infographic.aspx

 

Muhummad Yunus

I had the pleasure of hearing Muhummad Yunus at Elizabethtown College last evening.

The 77-year-old Bangladeshi founder of the Grameen Bank spoke about what inspired him to launch microcredit in one of the poorest countries in the world. It feels impossible to recapture the essence of the evening or of the work of Grameen – but the things that inspired me included the willingness to try new things, to ask new questions, and a commitment to eliminating poverty through whatever means made sense.  A few quotes from his talk:

“I started this work because I just wanted to be of use to other human beings in great need and suffering.”

“Banks have it all wrong – they lend money to people with money! They should be lending to people who need money!”

He spoke of a program in Bangladesh where beggars can get 0% loans to buy products to sell as they’re going door to door begging – and they’re paying loans back and getting out of abject poverty.

He asks – “What is the problem you want to solve? Then create a social business to address that issue in a way that doesn’t depend on charitable contributions to make it work.”

“As long as you wear the profit-maximizing glasses, you can’t see all of the possibilities, creativity, technology that you could use to help solve that social problem.”

In regard to limitations of the work of poverty eradication – “it is a question of creativity – human beings have unlimited creative power!”