Nonprofit or community organization
Last modified: July 28, 2011, 6:46 PM
The mission of Start Small is to provide low-income working adults in the Bronx with the tools that they need to increase their economic opportunities and build sustainable financial independence. While most economic development programs target either small business or personal debt and legal issues, Start Small addresses the full spectrum of financial issues facing its clients. Start Small provides access to affordable consumer credit and civil legal assistance as well as financial and small business planning and education.
Start Small also strives to ensure that its services are available and accessible. Decades of exclusion from the mainstream economy have engendered deep distrust of mainstream financial practices in the South Bronx. To address the community's skepticism, Start Small collaborates closely with East Side House Settlement, a trusted community group, which has served the South Bronx for 45 years and has long-established relationships with thousands of local residents. This collaboration allows Start Small to tap into those relationships and build the community's trust. In turn, this trust enables Start Small to increase community acceptance of mainstream financial and legal services and, ultimately, the likelihood of successful client outcomes. This collaboration has also provided Start Small with a more nuanced understanding of the needs and motivations of its low-income clients. This understanding bolsters Start Small's ability to provide relevant and meaningful services to those in the greatest need, creating a virtuous circle of need assessment and service provision.
To date, Start Small has served over 530 Bronx residents. Start Small has also succeeded in securing more than $450,000 worth of pro bono services from law firms, banks, credit unions, community-based organizations, and not-for-profit service providers.