The three main services ProsperUS offers are entrepreneurship training, business services, and microlending. I have been focusing on the first two services. First, ProsperUS offers an opportunity for low-middle income Detroiters to take a discounted business course to guide entrepreneurs in the right direction to achieving their business and financial goals. ProsperUS offers these services to several different cohorts, including one called ASPIRE. In the ASPIRE program, ProsperUS offers a business course to Detroit entrepreneurs that were previously incarcerated, meet an income requirement, and are financially responsible for a child under eight years old. ProsperUS also offers business services (technical assistance) to connect Detroit entrepreneurs with assistance they may need to take the next step or improve their business. Finally, ProsperUS offers small business loans ranging from $25k to $50k.
Working with ProsperUS thus far has been very rewarding. I am helping to recruit more Detroiters to take classes with ProsperUS. Recently, I was ubering, and I even got my Uber driver to sign up for the class! I am developing important marketing materials for the business including checklists and postcards that are key for the future of ProsperUS. I am updating their marketing so that they can continue to attract entrepreneurs to their services. I also have been collecting data directly from our ASPIRE clients, which has really opened my eye into Detroit. Learning from a lot of Detroit natives is really the best way to understand the city and its complexities. I have been doing a lot of translating of important documents into Spanish for our clients who are native Spanish speakers. Currently, my colleague Bryn and I are working on a business map to demonstrate the impact ProsperUS had made in the business community of Detroit. This is going to be one of our largest projects of the year. We are hoping to post the business map to show most of ProsperUS's large base of clients in a single place. It should be one of the best ways to show the impact I have been making this summer and ProsperUS has been making for years!