The Innovation Mission: Julie Cortes

The Cleveland Leadership Center was proud to partner with the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland on The Innovation Mission, a fellowship that supports local experts with groundbreaking ideas to break the cycle of poverty. Since Fall 2017, five fellows have developed their ideas and created programs to implement in Cleveland and potentially scale nationwide. Each day this week we will be sharing their stories.

Julie Cortes
Senior attorney, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

Julie wanted to find a way to use her legal and business knowledge to help low-income entrepreneurs in Cleveland get their businesses up and running.

“Being employed is the key factor for economic security and mobility, and is crucial to avoiding poverty,” Julie says. “The reality is, however, that for many people the path to finding and keeping employment with good wages, benefits, and the opportunity for advancement is often covered with a multitude of barriers, and in some cases these barriers are insurmountable.”

“My innovative approach offers the recognition that entrepreneurs are everywhere, even in our poorest neighborhoods. We need to invest in those entrepreneurs not just to help them overcome barriers to employment, but also as a means for community reinvestment and development.”

MORTAR, a startup in Cincinnati, has built a model to support entrepreneurs in low-income neighborhoods through classes, workshops, and unique engagement strategies. Julie is partnering with ThirdSpace Action Lab to bring the team from MORTAR to Cleveland to collaborate and plan how the model would work in our communities.

Celebrate their success

The Sisters of Charity Foundation will celebrate the conclusion of The Innovation Mission with A Celebration of Innovation. All are welcome to attend this free event but registration is required.

June 12, 2019  |  4:30 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Global Center for Health Innovation.

Learn more + register >