City of Cincinnati solicitor Paula Boggs Muething joins Peter Block and John McKnight in conversation on what’s economically possible for poor and marginalized neighborhoods.

Paula has a long background as a lawyer for civic and government on neighborhood issues. She has worked for the Regional Port Authority in community redevelopment work, fostering her interest in neighborhood economics and place-based economies. In 2014, she became head of the city of Cincinnati Law Department.

In this conversation Paula talks about investing in the energies of people living in under-resourced neighborhoods and providing the resources and capital to create their own opportunities.

“For too long we’ve looked at neighborhood problems as we (should) go in and help these poor neighborhoods, when really we just have to insure they have the same opportunities and education that other communities have that aren’t under-resourced.”

Part of this is to focus on the neighborhood as an ecosystem. This means connecting the silos of committed people and projects that exist in the city.

Creating a loan fund for micro-business

Paula discusses creating a fund to provide access to capital for micro-businesses (asking less than $50,000). This loan fund for the unbankable would be seeded with money across sectors, managed with an understanding of some loss at the beginning.

This discussion also is about creating a micro-enterprise trade association where friends, family, and citizens are a supportive network for entrepreneurs in their journey.

Paula points to Emory University in Atlanta’s Start:ME place-based micro-enterprise accelerator program, that proactively went into neighborhoods to seek out people for startups.

Join us by listening to this conversation about ways to reduce income disparities through high leveraged investments in our neighborhoods.