Interise Launches INTERISE STRONG as COVID-19 National Response Strategy

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Interise launches INTERISE STRONG, an online program to support small business owners across race and place to navigate economic uncertainty and survive financial shock.

This crisis exposes our nation’s preexisting condition of inequality — a wealth gap, a health gap, and an opportunity gap. That's why Interise remains focused on getting low-income-area and minority-owned small businesses the support they need.

Today, Interise, a national economic development nonprofit, launched INTERISE STRONG, an online program to support minority-owned and low-income-area businesses to navigate the economic and health crisis of COVID-19. INTERISE STRONG uses a peer-to-peer learning model to provide small business owners with the knowledge, know-how, and networks they need to survive financial shock and navigate economic uncertainty.

This national initiative comes in response to Interise’s partners and 8,000+ alumni business owners, who are seeking support during this global pandemic. Wells Fargo is supporting this initiative through a donation from its foundation as part of its philanthropic focus to create pathways for diverse small business growth.

“Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by the outbreak of COVID-19,” said Darrell Byers, CEO of Interise. “This crisis exposes our nation’s preexisting condition of inequality — a wealth gap, a health gap, and an opportunity gap. That’s why Interise remains focused on getting low-income-area and minority-owned small businesses the support they need. These are the companies that hold the keys to driving lasting impact and systemic change.”

INTERISE STRONG is informed by Interise’s deep knowledge of small business. For over 15 years, Interise has delivered its award-winning StreetWise ‘MBA’ curriculum, with alumni achieving consistently impressive results.

“Small businesses thrive when they receive critical support like technical assistance, marketing, and increased access to capital,” said Briana Curran, vice president, Community Relations & Communications, Wells Fargo. “For close to 20 years, Interise has provided in-depth support to thousands of diverse-owned small businesses and Wells Fargo is proud to support this important work.”

In 2008 & 2009, during the Great Recession, Interise businesses retained and created jobs at an astounding 21% growth rate while the private sector experienced overwhelming job losses. Companies that incorporate INTERISE STRONG tactics and strategies will be primed to exit the COVID-19 crisis confident and ready to achieve similar results.

“I completed my StreetWise ‘MBA’ in 2014 and found it transformational in the growth of my business,” said Jen Brunkow, President of CGB Tech Solutions. “I have high hopes for INTERISE STRONG, and look forward to getting to know all of my peers.”

Interise will launch two national INTERISE STRONG cohorts and one Massachusetts-based cohort in April. The organization seeks to further scale the program to meet demand through local and regional partnerships, and additional funders. More information about INTERISE STRONG can be found at interise.org/programs/interise-strong.

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About Interise
Interise builds an inclusive economy through small business development, supporting the growth of minority-owned small businesses and small businesses located in low- and moderate-income communities. Interise’s award-winning StreetWise ‘MBA’™ uses a peer-learning method to provide business owners with the knowledge, know-how, and networks necessary to grow and scale. As Interise companies grow, they contribute to local job creation and build community wealth. Interise companies historically create new jobs at 5x the rate of the private sector, and are responsible for the creation of over 30,000 new jobs. Interise partners with government agencies, anchor institutions, and business associations to make locally branded StreetWise ‘MBA’™ programs available in 75+ cities, nationwide. Strategic Growth Partners include the Kauffman Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and the Prudential Foundation. More information can be found at http://www.interise.org/ @StreetWise_MBA and at http://www.facebook.com/Interise

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