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EMPOWERING NEW ORLEANS

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ABOUT

ABOUT US

Over the last 10 years, Fund 17 has grown from just a mission to help local entrepreneurs with capital access disparities to a holistic approach to economic justice with community informed programming. Fund 17 has re-branded and expanded its offerings from solely capital access to: one-on-one advising, technical assistance, cohort based programming, and a radically affordable incubator/ meeting space, located in Parish Hall. Today's work ensures that we prioritize local entrepreneurs, with a culturally specific lens, to preserve the culture of New Orleans, and propel side hustlers, kitchen beauticians, supper plate pushers, and the like in profitable formalized businesses. 

#WHATWARDYOUFROM

WE SUPPORT ALL 17!

11

YEARS IN SERVICE

5

PROGRAMS

600+

ENTREPENUERS SERVED

$60K

OF IDA RELEIF STIPENDS ISSUED

- business funding new orleans - black owned new orleans - business startup new orleans - fund 17 New Orleans - New Orleans non profit

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PROGRAMS

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BenchMarks is an 8 week program that pairs early-stage entrepreneurs with Business Case Managers to work on a defined goal in: Marketing, Legal, Finance, or Business Planning, over (8) one-on-one meetings and multiple cohort workshops and events. The program is a mixture of in-person and virtual meetings. Applicants should be prepared to spend at least 4 hours per week on the program, including meetings and workshops. The program runs from January to March and requires a $75 non-refundable deposit.

 

The ideal candidate for the program:

- Is operating a for-profit business in New Orleans or GNO

- Has under $150k in annual business revenue

- Is past idea stage, meaning has at least one sale of a good or service, even if a prototype.

- Is early-stage, i.e. has been in business for less than 2 years and/or doesn't have some key business elements such as a business plan, registration, bank account, permits, license, or method of tracking finances.

 

If you aren't sure you meet these criteria, we encourage you to submit the application anyway as we consider each application on a case-by-case basis.

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Capital Ready is a 6 week program that matches entrepreneurs with a Financial Specialist for weekly 1:1 meetings to work on personal and business finances and prepare to apply for a loan or grant. 

The program is a hybrid program; with in person workshops at Parish Hall and virtual meetings via Zoom. Applicants should be prepared to spend at least 4-6 hours per week on the program, including meetings and workshops. The program runs from May to July and requires a $75 non-refundable deposit

The ideal candidate for the program:
- Is operating a for-profit business in New Orleans or GNO
- Has under $150k in annual business revenue
- Must have a registered LLC or other incorporation
- Must have a personal and business bank account

Fund 17 does NOT provide direct funding or guarantee funding from other investors. We provide resources and advising to improve personal and business finances and support funding applications through Capital Ready.

 

*Must have documentation as confirmation. Fund 17 utilizes Bizapedia's website to confirm business registration statuses. No exceptions.

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Be the Boss is a 6 week program where Fund 17 partners with trepwise to provide one-on-one business coaching and bi-weekly educational workshops for entrepreneurs who are ready to operate their business full-time and/or hire their first employee or contractor. 

The goal of BtB is for entrepreneurs to:
- Learn how to effectively build and manage a team, starting with your own role.
- Understand what it takes to grow your business's capacity through the use of tools, systems, and/or additional contractors/employees.
- Make connections to other entrepreneurs who have achieved accomplishments and overcome challenges similar to yours.
- Create a focused plan for the next 1-3 years based on your personal and business goals.

Applicants should be prepared to spend 10-15 hours per week on the program, including sessions with your trepwise coach and workshops. This program runs from September to November and requires a $75 non-refundable program deposit.

The ideal candidate for the program:

-earn between $40-150k in annual revenue

Operating a for-profit business

-Have a business registration and bank account

-Regularly spend at least 20 hours per week working on their business

-Prepared to take their business full time in the next 6 months (or operating full-time already)

 

. If you aren't sure you meet these criteria, we encourage you to submit the application anyway as we consider each application on a case-by-case basis.
 

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Property Ready is a 12 week program that provides entrepreneurs with real estate education, opportunities to network with real estate professionals, and personalized 1:1 assistance to prepare to buy and/or lease commercial property for their business in coordination with real estate partners.


The goal of PRP is for entrepreneurs to:

-Build Network through connects made via the Property Ready Program

-Build a Portfolio (Includes: Business Plan, Presentations, Reports, Work w/ a Business Case Manager)

-Market Analysis, Checklist, List of Codes, Layout, Local Resources

-Gain Business Confidence with a solid knowledge base, understanding the neighborhood changes, culture shifts

-Neighborhood and Ward Presence by local, born & bred populations at the mercy of displacement.

Entrepreneurs should spend 10 hours per month on the program, including sessions with your  coach and workshops, Applicants must be available for Thursday evening workshops. The program runs from September to December and requires a $75 non-refundable program deposit, All workshops are 6-8 pm.

The ideal candidate for the program should :

- earn between $40-150k+ in annual revenue, be operating a for-profit business

- have a business registration and bank account

- regularly spend at least 20 hours per week working on their business, and be prepared to take their business into a commercial space in the next 6 months to a year (possibly, operating full-time already).

 

If you aren't sure you meet these criteria, we encourage you to submit the application anyway as we consider each application on a case-by-case basis.
 

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Financial Wellness Collaborative

Fund 17, Propeller, Thrive New Orleans, and Go.Be, announce the creation of the Financial Wellness Collaborative, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase. This free program is designed to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners bolster their overall financial health through a series of workshops and one-on-one individualized support in areas such as assembling loan packages and financial statements, Quickbooks accounting, business tax filings, and raising credit scores.

OUR TEAM

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Veranisha Thompson (she/they)

Executive Director

Makin' mama proud is the motive!

Human centered approaches galore: New Orleanian first, economic justice & enjoying the journey second. As a long time history enthusiast and racial disparities activist, Veranisha brings her mental agility and wit to community service projects, intersectional ally work, and equity in business and wealth economies for marginalized communities. McDonogh 35 taught, New Orleans Black Elders raised, Tambourine and Fan chiseled, Albert Wicker nurtured, and fostered by the many who guided her; her tribe: for who she gives back to.

For Nola,

Always

Keion Hennessey (she/her)

Program Director

At 13, a counselor at UNO's Enrichment Summer Camp once said, "Your name is Keion, like neon, cuz you shine bright", and it stuck ever since. Raised in the city and Shrewsbury, by oldheads and hot girls from the '99 and the 2000s, she is as versatile as they come. As a local that wears many hats, she's a mama, an artist, activist, entrepreneur, and Program Director. Keion graduated from Loyola University New Orleans, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Having worked in non-profits since 2016, Keion brings audacity, critical thinking and an open minded approach to fight and rep for the underdog.

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Koda Sokol (he/they)

Operations & Program Assistant

As the Operations & Program Assistant, Koda thrives on creating organizational systems and crossing off to-do lists. Koda's goal is making Fund 17 run as smoothly as possible in support of economic justice for New Orleans. Koda also spends his time working on a PhD in Sociology, typing away at a dissertation on gender politics under neoliberalism. Away from the laptop, Koda prefers to be in a body of water somewhere, frolicking with their dog, or at a pottery wheel. 

Jeannine Walker (she/her)

Capital Access Manager

For us, by us. That's the motto. 
 
Jeannine is always down to ride for her community and comes through swinging more than a gogo beat. Her passion for education and economic justice is what drives her. On weekends, she å be found crate digging at local record stores or on a run. As a self-proclaimed overthinker, Jeannine earned a Bachelor of Science in economics from North Carolina A&T State University and is always bringing that Aggie Pride. 

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Rich Simmerman (he/him)

Community Business & Outreach Coordinator

Rich Simmerman's story is one of entrepreneurial flair and deep community ties. Springfield, Louisiana, may be his birthplace, but since 2017, he's been an integral part of the Carrollton area in Uptown, New Orleans. After earning his political science degree from Loyola University in 2021, he sharpened his business skills at Cal Poly University before diving headfirst into the entrepreneurial world. His plant-based protein snacks made waves nationally in 2022, garnering recognition from industry giants like Amazon and at the Rice University Business Plan Competition. Currently, as an MBA candidate at Tulane University, Rich is channeling his business savvy into a sustainable tech venture with local peers.
Rich's passions extend beyond business; he's a fan of electronic music, has a knack for languages—especially Mandarin—and advocates for the little-known New Orleans story of PJ's Coffee, the pioneers of Iced Coffee in the U.S. His narrative is as colorful and vibrant as the city he calls home.

BOARD MEMBERS

Ashley Garcia
Board President

BGPM

Jonathan Turner

Liberty Bank

Lakischia Smith, RN

Who Dat Barbershop, Owner

Fund 17 Alum

Justin Williams
Vice President

Helping Hand Accounting Services, Owner

Fund 17 Alum

Sanaa Msemaji

Creative Response Network

Kathryn "Kat" Lafrentz

The PRO Bono Project

Kyle Homan
Treasurer

City of New Orleans

Michael Hubbard II

Innovative Strategic Partners, CEO

Fund 17 Alum

Daniela Capistrano

DCAP Media, Owner

Fund 17 Alum

TEAM
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CALENDAR

PARTNERS

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FUNDERS

CLIENTS

DONATE

CONTACT

CONTACT US

PHONE / EMAIL 

(504) 656-4176

info@fund17.org

ADDRESS

2533 Columbus St #101

New Orleans, LA 70119 

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