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Highlight: Operation Hope Expands Critical Business Empowerment Program

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EDA grantee Operation HOPE, Inc., a nonprofit public benefit organization, is committed to the revitalization of under-served communities through the provision of economic empowerment, financial literacy, conversion programs and services.

To help people in these communities - many of whom have difficulty getting business advice and start-up funding - reach their full entrepreneurial potential, EDA has invested in Operation Hope to help them implement their critical business empowerment program, the HOPE Inside Small Business Empowerment Initiative (SBEI).

In 2014, a $2.5 million EDA investment helped to implement the program in nine cities, including: Atlanta, Ga., Birmingham, Ala., Memphis, Tenn., Jacksonville and Orlando, Fla.; the greater Los Angeles and Oakland areas in Calif.; Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Las Vegas, Nev.; New York, NY.; Baltimore, Md.; and Washington, D.C.

The program provided introductory small business workshops, comprehensive twelve-week entrepreneurial training program courses, and individualized technical assistance, including access to capital and adult financial services credit and money management counseling.

With this investment, Operation Hope worked to graduate 600 entrepreneurs from a training program, educate 6,000 participants through their Small Business Workshops, create 600 small businesses, enroll 4,500 participants in credit and money management and provide technical assistance to 3,000 small business owners during the grant period.

In December 2017, EDA announced the award of a $750,000 grant to Los Angeles Operation Hope to support the expansion of the program in eight southeastern states: Georgia, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee. According to Operation Hope estimates, the project is expected to help create 585 jobs and spur $750,000 in private investment.

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