A letter from CEO Marina Linhart:
In 2005, Next Street was founded to equip small businesses with the same level of talent that Wall Street was providing to large corporations. We worked directly with owners, providing them with the strategies and capital they needed to succeed.
Over the years, we expanded our work to partner with nonprofits, anchor institutions, foundations, and government agencies. We learned a lot about the ecosystems in which small businesses operate. As Next Street enters our 14th year, our experience and understanding of the broader picture is why we are refocusing our efforts on getting business owners access to what they need.
We believe now, as we did in 2005, that small businesses are the engines of economic growth in underserved communities. Small businesses create three-fifths of all jobs in the US, employing nearly 60 million people. They also provide a great opportunity for economic mobility. Business and financial assets deliver higher average returns than buying a home or car – leading to more wealth creation. Unfortunately, only 33% of businesses survive their 10th year.
Being a small business owner isn’t easy. One-in-four can’t access the capital they need to thrive, preventing them from expanding operations or hiring staff. Others lack business support and training, have difficulty navigating available resources and government policies, or can’t find mentors. And in times of economic uncertainty, small businesses get hit the hardest – during the 2007-2009 recession, 40% of all job losses came from small firms, crippling the ability of local communities to weather difficult financial times.
Our mission at Next Street is to revolutionize how our clients provide capital, customers, and services to small business and entrepreneurs. Since 2015 we’ve worked in fifteen communities to understand their small business landscape and identify solutions to fill capital or service gaps. We’ve worked with leading alternative small business lenders to expand their loan products into new geographies and created partnerships to finance that expansion. In 2018 alone, our small business development programs delivered services to more than 4,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs – of which 47% were women or people of color – and closed $8 million of funding.
As we look to the future, we want to fuel the small business revolution. To do this we must:
- Stay laser focused on the needs of small businesses
- Offer solutions, not just advice, that enable our clients to do more for small business
- Partner with organizations and companies that create positive impact at scale
Our renewed focus is all to drive growth for small businesses across the US. We will work with our clients to serve more than 10,000 small businesses and see $100 million in capital deployed by 2021. Join us on this journey to create a more inclusive US economy. Let’s scale our impact together.