The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “curiosity” as “a strange fact.” On today’s show we take a look at two business curiosities.
The first is – The greater your need for money, the harder it is to borrow it.
In 2022, Elon Musk, then the richest man in the world, had no problem borrowing 13 billion dollars to fund the purchase of Twitter, a company that had been losing money for most of its existence. If you’re a small business owner in Louisiana or Mississippi, however, your chance of being turned down for a loan is 60%. And that’s if you’re white. If you’re a Hispanic business owner, that number jumps up to 80%. And if you’re Black, the chance of your business loan application being rejected jumps to 87%.
These statistics were compiled by a financial institution called HOPE. They’re the reason for HOPE’s existence in Louisiana, Mississippi, and other Southern States. HOPE is a loan fund and credit union supporting small businesses in primarily majority Black and Latinx counties and parishes. The Senior Vice President of Community and Economic Development at HOPE is Kathy Saloy.
The other curiosity we’re looking at today is the financial conundrum of college education.
People go to college to get a degree to enable them to make more money during their working lives. But getting that degree requires years of financial hardship. And the ramifications of borrowing money to finance an education often severely limits a person’s economic opportunity for a decent portion of their working life.
A startup company called HustleHawks is setting out to provide students a way of making an income while they’re in college. And to allow them to schedule their income creation around their studies. The co-founder and CEO of HustleHawks is Gerald Rossen.
It’s stating the obvious to point out we all need money. Generally, there are only two ways to get a hold of it: work for it, or borrow it. On paper, that sounds straightforward enough. But in the real world, neither of those options are simple. And both options are made more difficult if you fall into subsets of the population that includes students, women, and people of color.
Kathy Saloy and Gerald Rossen are both working to shorten the distance between money and the people who need it. A lot of people have already benefited from Kathy’s efforts over many years, and a lot of people will hopefully benefit from Gerald’s in the future.
Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza in the NOLA Brewing Taproom. Photos by Jill Lafleur.