2019 Best Economic Empowerment Program Finalists


Barclays partners with Unreasonable Group to run Unreasonable Impact, an accelerator for entrepreneurs to scale their positive social or environmental impact and drive job creation.

Unreasonable Impact leverages Barclays’ expertise and reach as a global business to support the entrepreneurs and their ventures, involving its employees in everything from participant selection to hands-on advice and mentoring.

To date, Unreasonable Impact has supported more than 100 companies that have created 20,067 jobs since joining the program. These businesses have collectively reduced 28.8 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, sold 3.3 million sustainable products, diverted 275 million kilograms of waste, and brought modern, affordable energy services to 142.3 million people. Unreasonable Impact will support 250 businesses by 2022.

Clark Construction Group, LLC

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Clark Construction Finalist Photo
© Clark Construction Group, LLC

Clark Construction works to empower small businesses to succeed.

The company’s Strategic Partnership Program reflects its commitment to support small businesses on a national scale. Clark developed the executive MBA-style course in partnership with Dartmouth College to build small business owners’ capacity to thrive in a challenging industry.

The program, which is free to participants, including small women-, minority-, and veteran-owned firms, involves weekly evening classes on a range of topics, from finance and project management, to networking and presentation skills. More than 800 entrepreneurs in six cities have graduated from Clark’s course. From 2017 to 2018, Clark was able to award more than $224 million in contracts to its Strategic Partnership Program graduates, with an economic impact of $516 million.

Kellogg Company

Kellogg and TechnoServe are partnering to improve farming families’ income and climate-change resilience in the rural state of Madhya Pradesh, India.

Most area farmers work small plots and lack access to profitable markets. The program teaches them climate-smart agricultural practices to improve yields, quality, and resilience on their farms. Training also covers techniques for harvesting and storing crops to cut down on waste and how to diversify crops.

Participating farmers have increased their incomes by 20%. Moreover, families learn to grow organic kitchen gardens that improve family nutrition and reduce food expenditures. The average household with a garden now consumes vegetables daily and its spending on vegetables has decreased by nearly 75%.

Sachse Construction

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Sachse Construction Finalist Photo
© Sachse Construction

Skilled workers who have mastered a trade are extremely valuable, but there aren’t enough of them today to meet demand. Sixty-two percent of general contractors struggle to fill skilled-trades positions.

Sachse Construction founded the Sachse Construction Academy four years ago with Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan. In total, 1,500 students have attended the Academy—including last year’s event that provided 500 Detroit-area high school students with hands-on experiences in the skilled trades to help them envision viable careers. Students experiment with over 40 different interactive modules, including masonry craftsmanship, industrial HVAC systems, and even a virtual reality excavator.

This year a job fair took place for more than 300 hire-ready young adults seeking available opportunities. Through this program, Sachse Construction hopes to expand opportunities and change conversations in a way that impacts the perception of what a career in in the skilled trades can be.