Thunderbirds Charities has awarded Local First Arizona an $85,000 grant to help grow their Fuerza Local Business Accelerator program and support entrepreneurship in Arizona. The investment will boost outreach of Local First’s Fuerza Local program to bring this opportunity to more businesses across the Valley and helping to further Thunderbirds Charities’ mission to improve the quality of life for all Arizonans.
“Since 2013, Fuerza Local has assisted 453 entrepreneurs in achieving their dreams of becoming business owners. Business graduates have created a total of 624 jobs and have contributed more than $6,991,360 in new sales to our local economy. We strongly believe entrepreneurship is the most effective tool for tackling wealth inequality and building a diverse and resilient economy. We are honored to have Thunderbirds Charities as a partner in this mission,” says Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona Founder.
“Fuerza Local is a program that changes the lives of so many in our community by allowing them to follow their dreams,” said Tim Woods, President of Thunderbirds Charities. “Thunderbirds Charities shares a common commitment with Local First Arizona to serve the people in our communities. We’re very proud to be a part of that.”
While in the program, students participate in a lending circle, which requires them to make on-time, monthly payments, and generate a savings fund. These payments are then reported to Experian, building a credit history for the small business owner, often for the first time. At the end of the program, their savings are matched by a scholarship from Local First Arizona, and each graduate is offered the opportunity to access credit at fair market rates through several partnering financial institutions in lieu of any previous credit history.
Past graduates of the program have quickly scaled their businesses and even opened multiple locations across the state. Some notable businesses include Colados Coffee & Crepes, Birrieria Las Marias, Picky Hats and Accessories, Geekitek, and many more.
This grant is part of the Fall 2020 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees.