The Hartford has committed $1.4 million to the AARP Foundation to extend the Foundation’s Back to Work 50+ initiative to help low-income older adults assess opportunities to become entrepreneurs and create microenterprises. The three-year sponsorship, which broadens The Hartford's long-standing relationship with AARP, is part of The Hartford’s national philanthropic program. Communities with HART aims to "nurture the well-being of America’s communities by inspiring new generations of business leaders, enabling underserved neighborhood business owners to achieve growth and engaging the community in neighborhood business support," highlights the program description. “We are thrilled to sponsor the Back to Work 50+ program to educate and inspire older Americans who are interested in developing their own small businesses,” said Diane Cantello, vice president of Corporate Responsibility at The Hartford. “By encouraging entrepreneurship among older Americans, this program will help foster small business growth and contribute to the vibrancy of our communities.”
“Older adults are redefining traditional approaches to work and careers,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of AARP Foundation. “While many want to continue to work or advance in their current jobs, a growing number want to generate income by using their talents and skills to start their own business or microenterprise. Through this effort, AARP Foundation stands ready to help by equipping them with the information and skills they need to achieve their goals.”
The recent announcement of this new sponsorship follows the one-year anniversary of The Hartford’s Communities with HART Program, a five-year initiative aimed at benefitting small businesses and supporting students through partnerships with the Accion U.S. Network (Accion) and Junior Achievement USA (JA). In its first year, The Hartford announced a $1.25 million partnership with Accion to help small business owners who experience difficulty in accessing the traditional loans they need to sustain and grow their businesses. Accion manages the loan process, which focuses on community-oriented businesses in low-and-moderate income areas that hire and source locally, deliver social value and make a positive difference in their neighborhoods. With an initial focus in four key markets - Chicago, Hartford, San Antonio and San Diego – Communities with HART also provides training and web resources to help small business owners succeed.
The Hartford is also helping to inspire the next generation of small business owners as the title sponsor of the JA Company Program®, which includes a new online blended learning model and offers students the opportunity to launch their own small business while learning the basics of entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness. With the help of a $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 at the end of last year, according to company officials.