LIMA — Small businesses in the Lima region now have another tool to help them survive and succeed.
StartupLima.com was launched recently with the goal of helping entrepreneurs weave their way through the business of doing business.
“The first step in designing the tool was to identify the resources for entrepreneurs that already exist,” said Jermaine Harper, Urban Impact Community Development Corporation founder and executive director. “To accomplish this we mapped out the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Next, we conducted what we call an Ecosystem Gap Analysis, where we looked at local data about all of the resources for entrepreneurs in Lima and identified where we, as an ecosystem, fall short.”
Their findings found several gaps including limited awareness of available resources and lack of coordination across support providers. It also found that people of color and females are underrepresented.
Other findings showed that a large disparity exists between the diversity of the population and the percentage of minority-owned employer firms.
“Since Black founders grow up in environments that are more financially disadvantaged, the fact is that the vast majority of us have no access to what Silicon Valley labels as the ‘friends and family’ round of fundraising,” said JaMesha Williamson, local entrepreneur and Startup Lab participant.
StartupLima.com was developed based on interviews with local entrepreneurs and is now in beta testing.
“The City of Lima is excited about this project, and we believe that if we want to continue to improve Lima’s economy, we need to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem that is equitable and accessible for all populations. One of the major steps towards that goal is ensuring that we have resources that are targeted towards, and structured for, founders from historically underserved populations,” said Sharetta Smith, Chief of Staff for the City of Lima.
Harper believes the website that can serve a community of entrepreneurs in Lima and help get them on the right track.
“There is a disconnect between existing resources and services and who is actually getting helped, and people feel left out, with no way to connect,” Harper said. “Building this infrastructure will help us move from helping people one at a time, who just might happen to know the right people to call to get help, to creating a system where everyone can get help and that moves the entire community forward.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.