LISC National
What We Do

Inclusive Economic Opportunity Program

LISC has launched the Inclusive Economic Opportunity program, which integrates the our previous FOCUS:Works program with our neighborhood-based talent development investments (Bridges to Career Opportunity and Centers for Working Families) and is expanding engagement with micro-enterprise support organizations to provide robust services to entrepreneurs.

This work is being informed by the Inclusive Growth Working Group – the group of economic development stakeholders LISC, the City of Indianapolis, and Indy Chamber continue to convene – as well as through a formal learning partnership managed by LISC national’s Economic Development team that includes LISC Indianapolis, LISC Philadelphia, and LISC Los Angeles. This cohort of local LISC offices is sharing concepts, practices, successes, failures, and insights to improve our local as well as LISC’s national understanding of the interaction between district development, talent development, and creative place-making and, subsequently, how to integrate investments and strategies in ways that inclusively enhance residents’ upward economic mobility.

With the ultimate goal of vibrant and sustainable businesses that provide jobs for neighborhood residents, the program aims to increase the number of businesses moving to, starting in, and expanding in urban industrial districts. Through partnerships with government, non-profit and for profit partners, we help address policy barriers, increases city-wide collaboration and focuses on targeted districts, increasing the capacity of development partners and businesses through technical assistance, access to capital and advocacy at a local level supported by the national LISC framework. 

Click here to learn more about Indy's Inclusive Economic Opportunity Districts.

Last year the program saw the following results:

  • 232: Jobs created from businesses starting, expanding or moving to our Inclusive Economic Opporunity Districts
  • 162: Businesses assisted
  • 21: Businesses receving facade funding
  • 38: Businesses opened or moved to Districts
  • 5: Brownfields readied for development
  • 581,302: Sq. Ft. of improved commercial space
  • $1.5 Million: Leveraged in provate investment for commercial development through facade and property improvement program


Strategies for Success

Small Business Façade and Property Improvement Grants 

  • Activate vacant and blighted commercial and industrial building
  • Provide up to $25,000 for external façade upgrades and repairs with a 1:1 building owner match
  • Support thriving business corridors and job creation
  • Available annually through a competitive application process

Capital & Financial Support for Business Growth             

  • Align financial incentives for businesses to expand in or relocate to urban industrial and commercial districts
  • Improve access to business capital             
  • Develop anchor institution supply chain opportunities             
  • Assist and contract with VBE, MBE, DBE or WBE businesses             
  • Increase training and support for businesses and entrepreneurs

Connecting Businesses to a Prepared Resident Workforce             

  • Increase job pipeline referrals and meet employer workforce demand             
  • Align with appropriate economic clusters such as B2B, food manufacturing and tech             
  • Develop and align training programs and supplies

Building Neighborhood Infastructure to Grow Businesses             

  • Identify and ignite redevelopment of targeted sites             
  • Improve infrastructure including roads and utilities             
  • Remediate and redevelop brownfields             
  • Develop brand identity to market districts 

Program Toolbox



Emily Scott, Program Officer