When people think of Lupe Fiasco, they usually think of hit songs like “Kick Push” and “The Show Goes On”. If they know more about him, they might also think of his various fashion lines and the work he has done in collaboration with fashion labels and charities across the country. Now, you can add one more item to this growing list: philanthropic entrepreneur. While Lupe has been involved with various charities and nonprofits since his career began, his newest venture is aimed at so much more than just philanthropy — it’s looking to give people a helping hand by presenting them with the opportunity to do so based on their ideas and hard work.
Lupe has teamed up with a member of the Waze team, entrepreneur Di-Ann Eisnor, to launch Neighborhood Start Fund. This is a unique nonprofit that does more than just help people when it comes to charity and helping the underserved. The purpose of the organization is to turn communities and neighborhoods into incubators for invention and opportunity by rewarding people who have truly valid ideas with the money and support needed to turn their ideas into a reality. The group is going to travel to neighborhoods across the country and host “idea competitions”. People will present their ideas to a panel of judges from industries including food, retail, entertainment, and technology. These judges will then choose the best idea from those who entered, with the winner getting $5,000 to turn their idea into a working prototype that can be used to get further funding and create a working business.
This is a new sort of approach to the troubles that some philanthropies and nonprofits run into — once you’ve given the help, what happens next? The rewarding of what basically amounts to grant money for the construction of a working prototype is a huge incentive to would-be inventors who frequently struggle to get the seed money they need to get to the prototype level. Winning (and even just signing up) also gets you much more than just the money needed to begin prototype construction. Everyone gets access to workshops, mentors, and networking opportunities that are aimed at giving every neighborhood the chance to become an economic engine in and of itself.
If you’d like to read more, the link is here.