Client Success Story: Oliver Saye

“Having Chef Oliver in our home making his delicious food was absolutely an amazing experience. He took the time to meet with us before the special evening and crafted a menu that encompassed an incredible dish from Liberia as well as some savory and wonderful versions of dishes that we are familiar with; all were culinary treats that each one of our 10 guests loved.” -Deborah Rivera

Oliver Saye was born in Liberia and raised in the United States. He graduated from McCaskey High School and went on to complete his degree in Culinary Arts. Since then, Oliver has been working in the food industry for 25 years with experience ranging from fine dining to hotels and retirement homes. Inspired by his family and heritage, he desired to take his passion for culinary arts and make it a reality and, thus, decided to launch his own business, Culinary Services by Chef Oliver. He then came to ASSETS for help in growing his catering and packaged food business.

Since participating in our Business Start-up Learning Circle and receiving a Lending Circle loan, he has taken vital steps to grow his business.  The training and capital he received allows him to do what he loves, which is making and selling food that embraces his family and heritage. His successful business provides an income for himself and his family.

His services include catering, cooking demonstrations, and private dinners. He also sells wholesale products such as soups, sauces, jams, bruschetta’s, and quick breads, which can be found on the shelves of Lemon Street Market located in Lancaster, PA. Most of his products are vegan and gluten free.

Visit his website to view his menu or follow him on Facebook for updates.


ASSETS to participate in the 2017 Gifts That Give Hope

Happening this Saturday, December 9 is the annual alternative gift fair, Gifts That Give Hope. Guests can purchase meaningful gift ideas for friends, family, or colleagues that support nonprofits. ASSETS will be one of the 30 nonprofits that will be offering gift donations for purchase (two of which are entrepreneurs we have helped such as the Rafiki Africa Foundation and The Common Wheel).

In addition to the gift donations, Gifts That Give Hope will also be running a Marketplace that will be featuring many vendors, some of whom have also been entrepreneurs that ASSETS has helped, such as Revolution Lancaster, Imagine Goods, Lush Bazaar, The Lancaster Stroopies Company, and Upohar.

#ExtraGive Passport to the Local Economy

If we shift 10% of our spending from chain restaurant and stores to local ones, 1,600 new jobs could be created in our community. This is our mission, and we challenge you to join for The Extraordinary Give 2017!

To do this, we’ve created a Passport to the Local Economy, which is focused on spending your dollars locally, and the businesses listed have all participated in one or more of our programs here at ASSETS. Starting November 10th, we’re having this giveaway to encourage community members like yourself to #GiveExtra for an equitable economy.

How It Works:

1. Complete an activity (see pages 8 – 13 in passport)

2. Receive your sticker from the business owner or clerk and place next to the completed activity

3. Turn in your passport to ASSETS by November 30th to receive your prize!

So, next time you’re out and about, warm up to a fresh cup of coffee at BUZZ, Prince Street Cafe, or other businesses alike. Plan on doing some early Christmas shopping? Check out the awesome Fall finds at Sophie Stargazer Boutique or one of Nicole Vasquez’s boutiques – That Shuu Girl Boutique or Nicole Taylor Boutique.

Download your passport here to get started!

Download & At-Home Assembly Instructions:

  1. Download file and open
  2. Select “Print”
  3. Ensure that you select “Print on Both Sides”
  4. Print
  5. Cut passport pages down to size. Dimensions are 6.92 inches W x 4.92 inches H.
  6. Fold each page in half before assembling
  7. Assemble passport booklet according to provided pagination (the pages are in order, so if you experience complications, try again. HINT: even page numbers are on the left, odd numbers on the right.)
  8.  Once pages are in order, open the booklet to pages 8 & 9, turn booklet over so that the front and back covers are face-up, staple the center crease.
  9. All set!

Building Equity in Response to Racism

At ASSETS, we have a vision of an equitable, ethical and prosperous community.

Our goals include working toward parity in business ownership for people of color, who are significantly underrepresented in Lancaster’s economy and would need to start more than 1,000 businesses to reach parity. We also know this disparity is systemic in nature – people of color have less personal wealth and access to capital, creating significant disadvantages when starting and growing a business. This systemic inequality informs our programs, our investments and our work at ASSETS every day.

So when white supremacy reared its head in Virginia a few days ago, it hits squarely against our mission. In the spirit of building a more equitable, ethical and prosperous community, we think there is so much more we can do here, and across the country.

If you want to join us in building an equitable economy, one easy step is to support local businesses owned by people of color. We have a directory that allows you to search for businesses owned by people of color, women and social enterprises so you can be intentional with your purchasing. This by no means discredits businesses owned by white people – it just names the inequity and some of the root causes of it, and seeks to repair it through intentional investment. We work with entrepreneurs – people of color, refugees, white folks – who are seeking to use their business for as much good as they can, including hiring people with barriers to employment, improving employment practices and reducing their environmental impact. The opportunities for us to do better – no matter our background – are endless!

So while we denounce white supremacy and racist acts, we know that standing up for a diverse community requires more than words – we need to work together to support these diverse businesses so our economy can better reflect our community.

-Tina Campbell and Jonathan Coleman, Co-Executive Directors

Lancaster Works at ASSETS: Transforming Communities One Good Job at a Time

Since our founding in 1993, ASSETS has supported hundreds of entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing access to the resources they need to succeed!  We are excited to announce the addition of another tool to the ASSETS tool-belt—Lancaster Works at ASSETS, LLC.

LANCASTER WORKS is wholly-owned by ASSETS, and is Lancaster County’s first and only full-service pending B Corporation social enterprise employment agency.  Our focus is to provide career placement and wrap-around support services for local residents who might otherwise struggle to find meaningful work that pays a livable wage.  Our services enhance each worker’s ability to succeed in identifying and navigating a path towards their goals!

As valued service providers, employers and contributors to the local economy partnering with Lancaster Works will enable you to more effectively and efficiently meet your organizational goals, as well as the personal goals of the individuals you serve and employ.  Additionally, you will be joining a powerful network that aims to not only to meet, but to exceed the challenge of the Mayor’s Commission to Combat Poverty—to reduce poverty by 50% in Lancaster City.  The Lancaster Works model will prove to be a vital tool in far exceeding that goal.   Replication of the Lancaster Works model will make it a powerful tool in transforming communities throughout the country.

As a social enterprise and pending B Corporation, our “Triple-Bottom-Line” approach will focus not only on Profits, but more importantly on People and Planet.  We are making people a priority and creating a legacy that will benefit present and future generations!

To get involved, contact for more information.


Lancaster Works at ASSETS, LLC
100 S Queen Street
Lancaster, PA 17603

Meet the 2017 Great Social Enterprise Pitch Participants!

Congratulations to the eleven social enterprise idea teams that will move forward as part of the 2017 Great Social Enterprise Pitch!

These teams were selected by organizers from a pool of 36 applicants to participate in the free Idea Incubators involving a robust four-month learning program designed to develop the proposed social enterprise ideas. Applicant ideas were evaluated based on the clarity of problem the enterprise addresses, the enterprise’s proposed impact on that problem, the demand for the proposed products or services, the potential for profitability, and the leadership of the enterprise and its capacity to scale to address the problem. Preference was given to ideas that develop or support thriving wage jobs for people with barriers to employment.

Check out the 2017 Ideas:

Fellow Foodies
Healthy, locally-sourced, prepared meals delivered to busy families and produced by employees who previously struggled to find a good job with good wages.

Fruition Collective
An event space in downtown Lancaster for underrepresented artists and entrepreneurs.

Green Matters Natural Dye Company
Bringing pollution-free color to the textile industry.

Languages Beyond Borders
Supplying the Lancaster community and neighboring communities with trained, professional interpreters hired from the local refugee population.

Meraki Mocha
Empowering individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through a farm-to-table café.

Mind, Body, Battle Incubator
Empowering the mind, fueling the body, and using athletics to strengthen the community.

An innovative cleaning service using environmentally-friendly products and ensuring a living wage for cleaners.

Nepali Spice Company
Customized Asian spice blends for restaurant, manufactured by Nepali refugee women.

Popped Culture
A gourmet popcorn company that connects youth with jobs, mentor-ship, and entrepreneurship training.

The Townie
A publication featuring local artists and writers who represent the entire community.

A restaurant serving food from countries that have recently been banned from entry into the United States and staffed by refugees.

The 11 teams will attend a four-month series of learning sessions led by ASSETS focused on feasibility and business planning. In September, they will each launch a crowdfunding campaign to generate awareness and dollars in support of their concept. Five concepts from the Idea Incubators will then be invited to pitch their ideas to a live audience for over $50,000 in cash prizes and pro-bono services at the LIVE Pitch.

We’re so excited to see these ideas grow, evolve, and blossom! Keep checking back for more information as we progress through the 2017 Great Social Enterprise Pitch! Also, follow us on social media to stay in the loop during the Incubator phase of the competition. Search #InsideTheIncubator on Facebook and Instagram to follow along the journey!

Building an Equitable Economy – Support ASSETS this holiday season

Did you know you are a builder? At ASSETS, every day we see the building blocks of an equitable economy
where EVERYONE has the opportunity to thrive.

Over our twenty years of doing this work, we’ve seen the crucial building blocks for this economy:
• Customers, who are willing to make social and environmental choices in the goods and services they buy.
• Business owners who are willing to pay higher wages so employees can thrive. They know that business as usual isn’t enough to address Lancaster’s rates of poverty and inequality and they are committed to doing things differently.
• Employees who, when offered meaningful employment, can build wealth and move themselves out of poverty.
And, in any building project, the most critical block of them all, is the cornerstone. A building can’t stand, (for very long, anyway), without it.

You are the cornerstone and we can’t grow this equitable economy without you.

By supporting the work of ASSETS, you’re helping us help local business owners create more good jobs in the community.

By investing in ASSETS you’re investing in ideas that flip traditional business models on their heads. Because you know that the world needs new ways of doing things.

This matters because a good job is the surest path out of poverty. And locally owned businesses – especially those who intentionally measure and improve their business practices – create the most jobs and economic benefit in a community.

Will you help us build this new economy by donating to ASSETS today?

A gift from you would mean that ASSETS could work with more people like Olayinka & Saba, the owners of Melanin Essentials and the winners of the 2016 Great Social Enterprise Pitch. They believe that by helping women of color transform the way that they treat their skin and hair, providing good jobs to single mothers and combating the environmental and bodily hazards of chemical ingredients, they are not only generating profits, but are helping to change their community.

With you, we have the building blocks we need to make our local economy more equitable for everyone.

Thank you for supporting this work.

Donate Today! 

Sustainability Roundtable Breakfast

Do you want to make sure your community benefit organization makes an impact AND a profit?

Do you want to be able to bounce back from difficult financial times?


If so, join DC Beam Consulting for a free informational session focused on nonprofit sustainability! Get a sneak peak at upcoming workshops and training opportunities, like the Bounce seminar series!

 Dani Beam of DC Beam Consulting will facilitate a discussion on creating sustainable, buoyant organizations!


Offered through partnership of

Nonprofit Resource Network, ASSETS, & DC Beam Consulting


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