East St. Louis has a substantial amount of underutilized human, capital, and organizational resources within its community. We discussed the issues faced by East St. Louis, and these conversations led to the formation of East St. Louis Initiative (ESLI). Although the city has an unemployment rate of nearly double the national average, we have come across very inspiring individuals from the local community who want to change the situation. We are motivated to support them to the best of our ability and bridge the gap between resources and the entrepreneurs.

Our Model

SLII is a socially conscious venture designed to support local small-scale businesses in the Greater Saint Louis area. Our clients are local community members.


We understand entrepreneurs’ needs and engage them with volunteer student consulting teams to work together to make the local business sustainable. At the same time, we provide opportunities to impact-driven and self-motivated students to apply their skills in developing small businesses and learn from the entrepreneurs.

Locally grown micro-businesses that receive coaching assistance have an 80% success rate compared to the overall mortality rate of 50 to 80% for small businesses.
— Aspen Institute

Based on this premise, our main task is to provide business training and knowledge to local entrepreneurs to help them develop the tools they need to run their businesses.