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Idea to big business reality


If you are one of those folks with plenty of big business ideas, a passion to turn that idea into a reality but with no money, the Neighborhood Start Fund may be the answer to your dilemma.

Created by Rapper Lupe Fiasco and Google executive Di-Ann Eisnor, who connected when both were fellows with the Aspen Institute, the Neighborhood Start Fund is operating in nine communities around the country, including South Los Angeles, to find ideas that can morph into $100,000 million businesses.

In addition to South L.A., the Neighborhood Start Fund is looking for ideas from people who were raised in, live in, work in or have other strong ties in the communities of Englewood/Chicago, Ill.; Overtown/Miami, Fla.; Jamaica/Queens, N.Y.; Lawndale/Chicago, Ill.; Roxbury/Boston, Mass.; Anacostia/Washington, D.C.; and Brownsville/Brooklyn, N.Y.

Interested individuals start by pitching an idea online via the Neighborhood Start Fund website (view the tutorial on how to do this at:

Ideally, Eisnor said they are looking for at least 50 ideas from each neighborhood, and the deadline to submit an idea is Sept. 9. The first community to start the process was Brownsville and more than 200 ideas were submitted.

Once ideas are submitted, local partners will help Fiasco and Eisnor select winners. These ideas have to solve a real problem and be capable of growing into a business that can generate $100 million. The other consideration to note is why your solution is better than what is currently available. Additionally, individuals should be able to identify what is unique about you or your team that will make the business a success.  The winning individuals will then receive $5,000 to create a prototype. They will also obtain mentors and other kinds of help and services that will assist with fashioning their ideas into a business. The Google exec estimates this will take three to four months. The best idea will receive an additional $25,000 in capital to be used to prepare the company to seek other traditional types of funding.

Ideally, Eisnor said those submitting ideas do not necessarily need to have business experience. And the entrepreneur cannot have already raised financing.

For more information, go to the website