The Hartford's Philanthropic Programs Inspire a New Generation of Entrepreneurs

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Entrepreneurs are the key drivers of the U.S. economy, accounting for a majority of the nation’s new job creation and innovations. According to a survey of the U.S. Census Bureau, self-employed individuals who have no paid employees run 75 percent of American businesses.

The Hartford Financial Services Group has been supporting new generations of entrepreneurs and business leaders through its national philanthropic and community programs. The company has made a commitment of $16 million over five years to help small business owners succeed through its Communities with HART initiative, which is celebrating its first anniversary.

The first two investments in the Communities with HART program include $1.25 million to the Accion U.S. Network to benefit 500 small businesses, and $1.5 million to Junior Achievement USA (JA) to support 100,000 students.

The Hartford’s latest partnership with the AARP Foundation’s Back to Work initiative is aimed at supporting low-income adults and spurring small business growth. The Communities with HART program committed $1.4 million to the AARP Foundation, connecting struggling Americans of all age groups with the information, support and training they need to regain employment and advance in the workforce.

Diane Cantello, vice president of Corporate Responsibility at The Hartford, said that by encouraging entrepreneurship among older Americans, the Back to Work 50+ program will help foster small business growth and contribute to the vibrancy of the communities.

The $1.25 million partnership with Accion will help small business owners who do not have access to traditional loans obtain the funding necessary to help sustain and grow their businesses. Gina Harman, CEO of the Accion U.S. Network, said that Accion's partnership with The Hartford allows them to provide loans to small businesses that have the potential to make a positive difference in their communities.

The Hartford is the title sponsor of the JA Company Program, which includes a new online component and offers students the opportunity to launch their own small business while learning the basics of entrepreneurship, financial literacy and business success. With the help of this $1.5 million investment, JA has already seen more than a 25 percent increase in the number of JA Company Programs being conducted since the new program was rolled out across the country last year.

Source: The Hartford               

Image Credit: Flickr via Taylor Mason Group