The mission of Life Asset is to help alleviate poverty in Washington, DC, by empowering people through affordable financial products, services, and education, thereby promoting self-help and self-respect and expanding social and economic opportunities for lower income residents.
Our services include:
- Financial and Business Training
- Networking Opportunities
- Business Incubator
- Office/Retail Space
Life Asset is also working on starting a credit union.
Our clients include unemployed (55%), seniors (23%), disabled (12%), single mothers (30%) and homeless (13%) entrepreneurs. Life Asset is unique because we lend to entrepreneurs who don’t qualify for loans from traditional financial institutions – and still we have over a 98% loan repayment rate (higher than banks).
The average initial loan is $950 and can increase based in timely repayments. The loan is invested in various creative ways such as buying inventory, supplies, and equipment (sewing machine, ice-cream truck, camera, or food processor), acquiring licenses (street vending, real estate, driving, or food handler), incorporation fees, marketing, website development, and more.
Some examples of our clients:
- Hillary received a $1,500 loan to pay for her street vending license. Her street vending business is now providing for herself and her two children.
- Mark received a $1,000 loan to buy a van to restart his old car cleaning business. The extra income makes it possible to pay for his recently increased DC rent.
- Working hard to get out of homelessness, Jose needed $790 to get his real-estate agent license and business cards. Three months later he closed his first deal and more business followed. Jose is now living in his own place.
By investing in the entrepreneurial spirit that already exists in low-income communities we are making a lasting difference:
- Provided 400 microloans in the past 12 months (2017), coupled with training — creating and retaining over 800 jobs (including temporary and seasonal jobs)
- 33% increase in revenue as a result of a Life Asset loan and training
- 97% of the microbusinesses supported are still in business after 1 year
- Increased business focus, knowledge, and networks.
The positive impact of our work is not just financial but also leads to a greater sense of self-worth and dignity, a sense of belonging, a more positive outlook on life, and hope for the future. We are providing opportunities for self-help allowing people to tap into their inner energy, creativity, and passion. The impact of our work is not just on our clients but also on their families and friends and the community at large.
Life Asset’s business loan program is modeled after the world renowned, proven best practices of the Grameen Bank peer-group lending model. These groups bring low-income entrepreneurs together bi-weekly in mutually supportive networks.
Based on this positive impact and the urgent need that continues to exist, we are excited to scale up our program, cultivating and promoting more entrepreneurs and creating more jobs. Our goal for the next 5 years is to develop an active network of 4,000 entrepreneurs.