President Dre Thompson joined a panel discussion on Intercultural Unity exploring the role of equity, access, and capital for entrepreneurs.
President of Groundswell Capital, Dre Thompson, joined a group of expert panelists for the National Startup Championships Network in a conversation around Intercultural Unity (ICU) in October to share her story surrounding community-based economic development. Dre Thompson shared her experience around centering place-based needs, relationships, and community interests that have shifted the narrative and the flow of capital and resources to entrepreneurs. In describing the journey of Groundswell Capital and its sister company, the Tucson Industrial Development Authority (IDA), Dre explained the ICU blueprint of her processes for relationship-based ecosystem development within historically disinvested and marginalized communities, namely, the AVANZA Empowerment Fund. AVANZA, the first relationship-based micro-lending program serves Latinos and minority small businesses in Tucson that coaches its participants how to best leverage their loan with a cohort of like-minded local entrepreneurs, with no credit score required or collateral. In her insights, Dre detailed the relationship-based community and capacity building into how public and local governmental funding can support equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems through strategies that center place-based community needs and relationships to build community wealth. Since its debut in June, AVANZA has approved $934,000 to its small businesses. Learn more about AVANZA here: https://www.avanza.fund/