WES Mariam Assefa Fund Grantee Partners

Inclusive Action for the City

Category: Skills & Supports; Innovation & Experimentation; Leadership Development

Amount: USD$200,000

Term: October 2020 – August 2022

Focus: The Semi’a Fund is a microloan program of Inclusive Action for the City that provides entrepreneurs from low-income communities—many of whom are street vendors in the informal economy—with access to low-interest capital and individualized coaching to help them grow their businesses.

About Inclusive Action for the City

Inclusive Action for the City addresses the root causes of poverty by merging good urban policy with sound economic development initiatives that reduce barriers, increase opportunity, strengthen local economies, and empower low-income residents and entrepreneurs. Inclusive Action partners with communities to prototype innovative, scalable solutions that can contribute to systems change.

What type of work will the grant enable?

The Semi’a Fund was inspired by Inclusive Action’s advocacy work alongside street vendors. A Semi’a Fund loan is designed to support entrepreneurs, many of whom are immigrants, who cannot secure capital from traditional lenders yet need it to expand or formalize their business. By scaling this program, Inclusive Action envisions opportunities to increase direct lending, advise partners who are developing their own initiatives, and build capacity within other community-based programs to develop initiatives that best reflect the needs of their communities.

Why is this work important?

Financial access and inclusion are essential to economic mobility and fits squarely within the WES Mariam Assefa Fund’s goal of improving supports for immigrant workers and communities. Inclusive Action takes an experimental approach to financial services and seeks to create more inclusive, more equitable access to financing for those workers and entrepreneurs who are most often overlooked. Flexible lending and financial support are particularly important amid the economic slowdown, which has affected many immigrant entrepreneurs.