Starbucks is trying to create community jobs. Too bad Washington can't follow suit.
One challenge that both domestic manufacturers and start-up companies face is finding capital to launch and expand their operations.
Retail coffee chain Starbucks seems to understand the hurdle posed by unavailable financing and has launched a new program to help local businesses get on their feet.
Recognizing that "Small businesses create jobs," Starbucks has launched Create Jobs for USA. Their mission statement explains that they are teaming up with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) to "provide financing to community businesses that need our help."
The American public is encouraged to donate to OFN, with all funds earmarked to "help create and sustain jobs in underserved communities."
To launch the project, the Starbucks Foundation has already generously donated an initial $5 million.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has repeatedly pushed for a number of key steps to help boost small business and manufacturing in the U.S. Literally at the top of our list is "Establish a manufacturing investment facility to leverage private capital for domestic manufacturing."
Essentially, Starbucks has taken a page from our playbook and run with it. A lack of capital means businesses can't get in motion, and can't hire new workers. Adding funds to the mix helps grease the wheels of commerce.
Starbucks cites Shining Stars Family Child Day Care of San Francisco as a good example of how this works:
Zonia Torres’s success is a testament to her incredible work ethic. Operating a 24-hour daycare from her home, Zonia caters to low-wage workers in San Francisco. She offers overnight childcare to parents who clean office buildings and work night shifts in factories. Thanks to a $10,000 loan from a CDFI called Opportunity Fund, Zonia improved her kitchen and backyard to make her daycare safer for the children. She now has a waitlist of new clients and has hired three additional employees.
The investment in Torres' business helps illustrate the beneficial investment cycle at work. Not only did Torres expand her business, but the loan she received helped support the construction workers who retooled her worksite. Her new business is now ready to hire other workers, providing even more jobs.
Here's to hoping that Starbucks' initiative pays off. Now if only Congress could get in motion and put through a serious jobs plan of its own. Maybe a little caffeine would help them think more clearly...
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