Exciting Actors in the Capital Access Space

1. WEPOWER (St. Louis)

WEPOWER, is a non-profit organization headquartered in St. Louis committed to building more power and wealth opportunities for Black and Hispanic people, by restructuring the education, economic, health, and justice systems. The organization launched their $1.5 million investment fund, Elevate/Elevar Capital, to invest in the financial growth of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs and provide them with valuable connections and technical assistance. 

One of the first funds of its kind, Elevate/Elevar Capital targets companies owned by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs with a strong growth trajectory in North St. Louis. It keeps ownership and control in the hands of entrepreneurs versus equity in exchange for investment. Through this fund, capital is made more accessible by using a holistic approach to underwriting and eliminating common barriers, such as collateral requirements and minimum credit score thresholds. The organization also ensures business owners commit to hiring in areas that have experienced generational disinvestment and providing people with living wages. They also utilize a revenue-based repayment structure rather than relying on traditional fixed installments. 

Website: https://wepowerstl.org/
Email: info@wepowerstl.org
Phone Number: (314) 391-8033

2. ICA (Bay Area)

ICA accelerate great businesses through mentoring and investments to close the racial and gender wealth gaps. Programs and Investments teams work collaboratively to identify companies that can benefit from ICA’s services, build a pipeline of companies ready for investment, and provide entrepreneurs with the tailored services they need to build thriving businesses, and create wealth for themselves and their workers. In turn, ICA companies are testament to the power of small businesses to create catalytic community change. 

In 2019, ICA served 143 companies, our accelerator and investment portfolio companies employed 547 workers, 75% of our companies are led by entrepreneurs of color and/or women entrepreneurs. ICA companies grew revenues by 22% over 2018. ICA companies raised $17.3MM in outside investment capital. ICA investment portfolio companies have grown in value by $76.3MM. 

Website: https://www.ica.fund/  
Email: info@ica.fund
Phone: (510) 271-0142 

3. Mission Driven Finance

Mission Driven Finance is a certified B Corporation that accelerates change through impact investing. The organization work with local and national investors to help them create the impact they want and work with businesses and community partners to help them get the capital they need.

Their flagship people- and place-based fund, Advance is an evergreen revolving private credit portfolio in San Diego. Advance provides debt financing up to $500,000 to tenacious small businesses, social enterprises, and nonprofits that are committed to advancing local economic opportunity.

Their Employee Ownership Catalyst Fund supports businesses throughout the U.S. that want to transition to employee ownership and need capital to do so. It provides up to $500,000 in financing structure tailored to each business: loans, revenue-based financing, or equity. Operated in partnership with Project Equity, the fund promotes resilient, quality jobs, increases worker voice, and preserves and strengthens small business assets in communities.

Their National loan program supporting people on the move finance U.S.-based businesses and organizations that actively support people on the move—immigrants, refugees, asylees, low-income economic migrants, and survivors of trafficking. It provides $50,000 to $250,000 with a 6% interest rate with 6-month to 4-year terms.
MDF is entirely focused on private market impact transactions and asset management. It has customized structures with revenue-based financing for flexible payment schedules and Islamic financing. Further, it is designed to expand access to capital, with no need for personal credit scores or personal guarantees.

Email: info@missiondrivenfinance.com
Phone: (858) 880-0252

4. Boston Ujima Project (Boston) 

Boston Ujima Project is, first and foremost, an experiment in developing liberatory economic practices. These ambitious practices — be it material, spatial, or operational — run counter to the historical failures in the design, construction, and management of our cities. Boston Ujima Project is building upon the legacies of experimentation, organizing, and victories of BIPoC communities that worked to transfigure hostile environments for abundance and protection.

The Boston Ujima Project build with the contemporary reconstruction movements happening across the U.S. to collaboratively (re)shape a sustainable future, delinked from extractive economies and racialized exploitation. 

The Ujima Good Business Alliance (UGBA) unites local businesses, provides multi-faceted support, and incentivizes accountability to shared values. The UGBA is a network of community-based businesses that are eligible for investment from the Ujima Fund and other supportive programs. 

Website: https://www.ujimaboston.com/  
Email: info@ujimaboston.com  

5. Seed Commons 

Seed Commons is a national network of locally rooted, non-extractive loan funds that brings the power of big finance under community control. By taking guidance from the grassroots and sharing capital and resources to support local cooperative businesses, Seed Commons is building the infrastructure necessary for a truly just, democratic and sustainable new economy. 

Seed Commons takes in investment as a single fund, then shares that capital for local deployment by and for communities, lowering risk while increasing impact. Seed Commons also shares backend services and a comprehensive, peer-based learning system to give each member the tools necessary to succeed accessing capital like market players, yet deploying it using local community relationships. 

The funds in the Seed Commons cooperative provide financing for cooperatively owned and community-controlled enterprises around the country. Read about the principles used to drive lending, and if your project qualifies, see if there is a fund in your region!

Website: https://seedcommons.org/  
 

6. RUNWAY

RUNWAY is a financial innovation firm committed to dismantling systemic barriers and reimagining financial policies and practices–all in the name of Black liberation. Runway is 100% Black and Brown-women led and their work helps build Black community wealth through early-stage funding, holistic business support and innovative financial products and partnerships. 

Runway Offers Flexible & Friendly capital for early stage and growing businesses, a tight-knit network of peer Black businesses in the Bay Area and Massachusetts, weekly one-on-one business advising, bi-monthly peer business coaching, and access to expansive funding & resource networks.

Runway prioritize African-American from all industries and do not rely on traditional bank requirements such as credit score, or past business performance. Instead they focus deeply on your business model and plan, financial projections, your passion, relationships in the community, and dreams for the future. 

Website: https://www.runway.family/  

7. 1863 Ventures (DC)

1863 Ventures deliver business development programs designed to bridge the gap between entrepreneurship and equity. The vision is to create $100B of new wealth and economic power for and by the New Majority. Their programs seek to accelerate new majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth.

Over the past several years, 1863 Ventures has worked with over 2,500 early-stage and growth-stage founders through their formal programs across a multitude of sectors and industries. With a membership representing nearly $300M and several thousand jobs, 1863 have crossed paths with some of the best and brightest founders in the nation. 

Website: https://www.1863ventures.net/ 
Email: info@1863ventures.net  

8. Founders First Capital Partners (CA)

Founders First Capital Partners is a national lender serving Asian, BIPOC, Hispanic, LGBTQ+, veteran and women owned businesses, as well as businesses in LMI zones and those committed to diverse hiring practices. They are committed to helping entrepreneurs accelerate business growth through their Revenue-Based Funding products and Advisory Services. Founders First Capital Partners help to create more jobs, increase revenues and bottom line, and provide more growth capital to help your business. They are backed by the nation’s top philanthropic organizations, so that they can fund you with the right capital. 

Founders First Capital Partners focus on funding and growing service-based companies generating $500,000 to $10 million in annual revenues. Over 80% of their investments are to company’s led by diverse founders including people of color, women, LGBTQ+ and military veterans. 

Website: https://foundersfirstcapitalpartners.com/  
Email: info@f1stcp.com
Phone: (858) 264-4102 

9. Greater Colorado Venture Fund (Colorado)

Greater Colorado Venture Fund invests in early stage startups headquartered across the state of Colorado, outside of the Front Range. The organization works to inspire innovation in communities overlooked by venture funds. In order to be considered for investment, companies must first, have headquarters or significant operations located in Rural Colorado. Second, have at least two full-time employees based in Rural Colorado. Third, be committed to being located in Rural Colorado for at least five years. Fourth, be seeking first institutional investment or “growth” capital funding. Finally, must be serving customers well-beyond the company’s locality, or is raising funds to scale to customers beyond the company’s locality.

Website: https://www.greatercolorado.vc/

10. Cutting Edge Capital

Cutting Edge Capital works to build an economy that works for everyone and provides opportunities for everyone to participate, thrive, and build wealth. They design and implement community capital offerings, and help clients raise capital from their own communities in alignment with their values and goals. In addition to helping social ventures raise capital, they also work to create and develop the capital markets tools, such as secondary markets, markets for the regulation of resource use, financial markets for investment in local food systems, and tools for aggregating community capital, needed to shape a truly resilient economic ecosystem.

They seek to work with clients and to use vendors who meet these criteria;

Local and/or Community Ownership — the client or vendor is privately or worker-owned with a majority of the owners actively participating in the company, or is wholly or partly community owned or funded.
Authenticity — the vendor’s or client’s values and mission are aligned with CEC’s mission and focus, including a commitment to inclusiveness and diversity.
Social Responsibility — the vendor or client’s social and financial practices and policies are designed to ensure optimal benefit to their employees, to the local community and the local economy.
Environmental Stewardship — the vendor or client’s environmental practices, policies, services and products are designed to minimize environmental impact and resource use, and thereby minimize the extractive nature of their operations.

Website: https://www.cuttingedgecapital.com/
Email: info@cuttingedgecapital.com
Phone: (510) 834-4530