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Lupe Fiasco Launches Startup Aimed at Underserved Entrepreneurs

Lupe_Fiasco_slr2In an age where we often hear stories about rappers getting arrested or going broke, it’s nice to see a positive from the hip hop community.

Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco has started a fund to help underserved entrepreneurs. The program is called the Neighborhood Start Fund, which is a partnership between the rapper and Di-Ann Eisnor, tech business leader and director of the GPS mobile app, Waze.

The goal of the Neighborhood Start Fund is to turn ideas into startups.

“We’ve created a neighborhood-specific fund to support entrepreneurs and start-ups from underserved areas and of course so the best new ideas won’t go wasted. We provide access, network, workshops, mentoring and of course funding,” said a statement on the organization’s website.

According to the Huffington Post, the first event is in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville, on Nov. 13. Finalists will be given the chance to pitch their ideas to a panel. The winners will receive backing to help turn their ideas into reality.

The Neighborhood Start Fund will be a self-sustaining project since a portion of each businesses’ success is invested into a fund to help other entrepreneurs.

Lupe is known as a “conscious” rapper, who is famous for his thoughtful lyrics which address social issues such as urban violence, inequality and racism. He has also not been afraid to take on the political establishment, and at one point called President Barack Obama “the biggest terrorist.”

This is not his first venture into the startup field. He’s also involved in a healthcare startup called higi. Higi stations, which monitor blood pressure and other health conditions, are located in Walgreens.

Hip hop magazine, The Source, was cautiously optimistic about Fiasco’s latest venture.

“The world needs more and more entrepreneurs and innovators everyday and this could help level the playing field of exposure for those whose parents weren’t able to fund their dreams or send them off to a university to open doors for their creativity and potential,” said The Source. “Hopefully, Fiasco and Esinor will be able to turn a few roses that grew out of the concrete into a garden of prosperity.”

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