Fund 17 is fighting opportunity inequality in the seventeen wards of New Orleans.

New Orleans is currently experiencing an entrepreneurial renaissance. The tech industry is booming, new co-working spaces and incubators are popping up around town, and searches for the next “big idea” expand. Unfortunately, while these high-growth businesses gain technical assistance, investments, and visibility, there exists a lot of “hustle” or informal enterprises that are ignored as part of this entrepreneurial market. We use our own terminology, ‘opportunity inequality’, to explain the situation we see everyday: the poor lack the assets to achieve economic mobility while the wealthy and middle-class can use their resources to succeed.

Too many New Orleanians are underserved by traditional financial institutions.

Fund 17 problem

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Although inequality is a growing global problem, New Orleans consistently displays higher levels of inequality than national averages:

  • African American households in New Orleans, on average, earn 50% less than white households, as compared to 40% less nationally (Greater New Orleans Data Center: Katrina Index at Eight).
  • Returns to minority-owned businesses in New Orleans are also below the national average, at 2% of local revenue (GNODC, Katrina Index at Eight).
  • 12.5% of New Orleanians are completely unbanked, compared to 7.7% nationally (BankOn).
  • African Americans and Latinos are consistently “at risk” of being unbanked or underbanked, whereas white New Orleanians have little risk of either (BankOn).
  • 71% of New Orleans has sub-prime credit scores, a staggering number that Fund 17 believes is intrinsically tied to New Orleans wealth and asset poverty (GNODC: Assets and Wealth Profile).

Through equitable services tailored to the needs of each micro-entrepreneur, Fund 17 believes we can create a new system of economic opportunity in New Orleans. Read about our Theory of Change here.