CIT and Operation HOPE Introduce Launch and Grow in Southern California

A HOPE Inside Program Presented by CIT to Empower Women Entrepreneurs
Sep 4, 2019 2:00 PM ET
Campaign: CIT: Empowerment

PASADENA, CA, Sept. 4, 2019 /3BL Media/ — CIT Group Inc., and its Southern California retail branch bank OneWest Bank, today introduced the next facet of the Launch and Grow initiative. In partnership with the nonprofit Operation HOPE, the 12-week HOPE Inside program kicks-off today in Los Angeles and seeks to empower local women small business owners.

Building upon last year’s ten-part small business educational video series and the most recent Launch and Grow New York City program, the initiative includes a series of in-person workshops and classes for small business owners. Classes will focus on key topics such as maintaining strong personal credit, accessing capital, and managing budgets. 

“Our brand is about turning ideas into outcomes and we’re excited to support women in the LA-area with the tools and training they need to build strong and successful local businesses,” said CIT Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Gina Proia. “We understand how critical small businesses are to the local economy, and when they thrive, communities thrive.”

“We are pleased to bring the Launch and Grow program to the West Coast and arm local participants with the knowledge they need to succeed,” said Operation HOPE’s Founder, Chairman, and CEO, John Hope Bryant. “Essential to this process is building and maintaining good credit so that the ‘woman behind the business’ is truly empowered.”

Launch and Grow is unique in that it brings CIT banking experts into the HOPE Inside training program, which is a no-cost financial education curriculum for small business owners. OneWest Bank has provided HOPE Inside within its branches since 2014 and will host Los Angeles participants in its Tarzana location. 

“Supporting small businesses where we live and work is one of our key tenets,” said Heather Ellison, head of Retail Banking at OneWest. “We’re pleased to extend our partnership with Operation HOPE in Southern California as this effort highlights our steadfast commitment to helping local entrepreneurs launch thriving enterprises.”

By the end of 2020, the program will provide over 400 women in New York and Los Angeles with the tools and resources they need to cultivate their small businesses. The Los Angeles program involves a network of program partners including Mastercard, Bloom Ads Global Media Group, HCT Group and the National Association of Women Business Owners, Los Angeles. These partners, along with CIT and OneWest representatives, will provide their expertise and insights during the upcoming cohort.

Individuals can access the content and resources by visiting and engage on social media by following #LaunchAndGrow.

About CIT

CIT is a leading national bank focused on empowering businesses and personal savers with the financial agility to navigate their goals. CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) is a financial holding company with over a century of experience, approximately $50 billion in assets as of June 30, 2019, and operates a principal bank subsidiary, CIT Bank, N.A. (Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender). The company’s commercial banking segment includes commercial financing, real estate financing, equipment financing, factoring and railcar financing. CIT’s consumer banking segment includes its national online bank, CIT Bank, and a Southern California branch bank, OneWest Bank. Discover more at

About Operation HOPE

Since 1992, Operation HOPE has been moving America from civil rights to "silver rights" with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved—disrupting poverty for millions of low and moderate-income families across the nation. Through our community uplift model, HOPE Inside, which received the 2016 Innovator of the Year recognition by American Banker magazine, Operation HOPE has served more than 4 million individuals and directed more than $3.2 billion in economic activity into disenfranchised communities—turning check cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners, minimum wage workers into living wage consumers, and uncertain disaster victims into financially empowered disaster survivors. Project 5117 is our multi-year four-pronged approach to combating economic inequality that aims to improve financial literacy, increase business role models and business internships for youth in underserved communities, and stabilize the American dream by boosting FICO scores. Operation HOPE recently received its fourth consecutive 4-star charity rating for fiscal management and commitment to transparency and accountability by the prestigious non-profit evaluator, Charity Navigator. For more information: Follow Operation HOPE on Twitter and Facebook @operationhope.



Olivia Weiss




Amanda Nembhard