A new report released at the Boston Foundation lays out the needed changes to create a strong ecosystem for entrepreneurs of color, and tracks the racial entrepreneurship gap in Massachusetts.Download the report
The Business Equity Fund at the Boston Foundation is designed to address longstanding barriers to growth financing and technical assistance that have historically limited opportunity for entrepreneurs of color.
The Fund was created in 2018 as a core component of an ecosystem to grow enterprises of color in greater Boston. That ecosystem includes the Foundation for Business Equity’s Business Equity Initiative (BEI) program, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Pacesetters Initiative, which encourages its members to work with minority-owned businesses, and the Fund. Together, they provide capacity, capital and contracts to Black and Latinx businesses to help them grow.
To date, through a competitive application process, seven businesses have received a combined total of $2.3 million in low-cost loans. The BEF has also unlocked an additional $2.8 million of more traditional capital to support another eight businesses, bringing total leveraged dollars to $5.1 million. As an evergreen loan fund, loan repayments will be returned to the Fund to be recycled into new financing and equity investments in other businesses.
The Business Equity Fund is currently actively seeking grants and contribution funding from foundations, government entities and others to broaden the pool of capital available for investment in qualified businesses.
The Business Equity Fund is specifically targeted to minority-owned companies with over $250,000 in annual revenue in Eastern Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire and Northern Rhode Island, for whom a loan or equity investment of $300,000 to $500,000 would create jobs or expand operations. Loan applicants are rigorously screened by the fund managers and the BEF Investment Committee to select those businesses most able to leverage a loan or equity investment into positive outcomes. Recipients also receive ongoing support and oversight in partnership with the Business Equity Initiative.
Fund decision makers are predominantly people of color, many of whom have experienced the problem the fund is trying to solve first hand as entrepreneurs, investors, and community advocates. Interested companies may reach out to Corean Reynolds, Assistant Director for Economic Inclusion at the Boston Foundation for more information.
The Business Equity Fund continues to grow its capital resources in support of Black- and Latinx-led businesses. Individual donors can donate by credit card through the form below. Institutional and other donors can contact Corean Reynolds to learn more about ways to support the fund.
In June 2019, Boston Foundation Vice President for Programs discussed the role and opportunity for the Business Equity Fund with Jenny Johnson for Comcast Newsmakers.