Thought Leadership

Interise's mission is more essential than ever

Sofia Cross

Minority- and women-owned small businesses are under attack in the courts. The Supreme Court’s decisions on Affirmative Action will affect hiring and retention policies for small businesses and has opened the door to further legal threats to inclusive growth. A recent federal court decision shut down the SBA’s 8(a) program, which provides women- and minority-owned businesses with training, technical assistance, and access to federal contracts.

These court rulings make Interise’s mission more essential than ever.

Interise has been supporting the growth of minority women business enterprises and small businesses located in low-income communities for almost 20 years, reaching 10,000+ businesses.  These companies have created 180,000 well-paying jobs, generated over $20 billion dollars in revenue, and contributed to their communities in countless ways.  And we couldn’t have done it without the support of people like you.

Together with you, we are building a movement for an inclusive economy, one that will generate trillions of dollars for the U.S. economy while reducing the wealth gap. We offer free business education programs that provide entrepreneurs with the business knowledge, management know-how, and networks needed to grow their enterprises.

Take 2022 Interise alum Sofia Cross, CEO of Fade Factor Barber Academy in Mobile, Alabama. Within the first year of graduating from our StreetWise MBA program, she increased her revenues by 45.7%, went from 7 to 12 full time employees, expanded to multiple locations, and secured 3 large contracts.

Now I know how to get contracts, how to bid, how to contact people! Going into battle with an arsenal of information and connections that I gained through the SWMBA program is extremely better than going to battle by myself.

Interise empowers entrepreneurs of color like Sofia with the business skills they need to compete in the marketplace. The best predictor for lasting success is securing contracts. However, according to the SBA, disadvantaged firms garnered 4.28% of federal contracting funds, and according to Brookings only 1.7% of funding went to Black-owned businesses.

We will level the playing field through business education that prepares and propels these companies for successful contracting. We need to scale our efforts now, so that more businesspeople and their employees have a chance to thrive.

Interise is at an exciting moment as we gear up to celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2024. Through our robust network of partners, we are rapidly expanding our programs in Massachusetts, the Southeast region, and nationwide. We can do more with your giving.

Please consider donating $100 today to enable us to reach more small business owners like Sofia. Want your support to go even further? Become a Small Business Sustainer for as little as $10 a month. Your monthly gift provides us with the resources we need to launch new programs, expand our reach, and tailor programming to best meet the needs of participants.