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  • Betting Big on Small Businesses

  • Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation (F3)

  • Fresno's Impact Economy

  • Next Gen Aviation

  • Wealth Creation

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Betting Big
Lead Organization: Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce

The Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce leads this work and is focused on their Accelerator Cohorts where they invest in individuals with small business plans and need the guidance and support to make their dreams a reality. The 8- week course is followed up with ongoing technical support as well as a grant to help with their ongoing work. FMBCC also is investing in existing contractors and providing technical and bonding support to build their capacity to submit for larger contracts. Both of the aforementioned projects are focused on support individuals of color living in the Fresno community.


Outcomes Update:

Hosted 2 Accelerator Cohorts, hosted 2 cohorts for the BTAC contractors which graduated 12 individuals. Equipped 3 other counties in Central Valley to host Accelerator cohorts themselves.

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Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation (F3)
Lead Organization(s): Multiple Partners

F-3 has tiers to its work. One is the partnering of CSU Fresno and UC Merced in creating an Innovation Center for research and entrepreneurship in Ag technology and engineering. Developing a resilient local food system that invests in local BIPOC farmers and the last part is creating an all-access training system that prioritizes workers in low skill jobs threatened by automation. Click here to learn more.


Outcomes Update:

Successfully received Federal EDA funding of $65.1 million to launch the work which will begin in Spring 2023.

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Fresno's Impact Economy
Lead Organization: Fresno EDC

Working with the Harvard Business School, our local Economic Development Corporation is creating a Scorecard that will evaluate the types of jobs and working environments new businesses are bringing to the Fresno community. This Scorecard, developed with a local Resident Advisory Group, can also be used to evaluate existing businesses as well. This supports Fresno’s desire to not only increase new jobs but to make those new jobs higher paying, quality jobs.


Outcomes Update:

Held 2 resident summits with 94 total community members which gleaned inputs on Scorecard components. Continued work with Harvard Business School and other partners on components of scorecard and its future implementation.

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Next Gen Aviation
Lead Organization: New Vision Aviation

America is facing a shortage in pilots, and we have been living that out recently. NGA is investing in high school students and getting them on a path to receiving the pilot certificates needed to ascend toward being a future commercial pilot. As an equity component, they are seeking students of color living in concentrated poverty neighborhoods. An added element to this work is the fact that they are training the student in electric planes. The long-term vision for NGA is for there to be an infrastructure of electric planes flying up and down the San Joaquin Valley transporting people and goods on these electric planes.


Outcomes Update:

Purchased a new electric glider for training students. Currently working with 18 students on pilot certifications. Have launched an after-school program for Fresno Unified as a pilot for their future Fresno Unified Aviation Academy which will link with NGA.

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Wealth Creation
Lead Organization: United Way-Fresno & Madera County & Vision View

There are 2 components to this initiative. The first is a project called Shared Prosperity. This work involved investing in families with deep rooted supports that include financial literacy, education, workforce development and home ownership readiness. The second component is Community Investment Trusts. This involves community residents, working with an angel investor, in purchasing a vacant building and restoring it for commercial use. The dividends would eventually go back to the investor and the residents. These programs are focused towards families living in our concentrated poverty neighborhoods.


Outcomes Update:

Building out a new version of a CIT with an existing business complex which has 29 small businesses housed there. The small business owners will be buying shares to the building and will eventually gain profits from the rents. Currently still working on the curriculum and rollout of the Shared Prosperity program.

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