Business Start-up & Growth

The Outcomes We Seek

  • Increased Access to Capital

    We aim to influence the flow of financial capital to better meet the business growth needs within communities of color.

  • Reformed Procurement Practices

    We aim to accelerate the growth of existing and established businesses owned by people of color by making opportunities to attain contracts with public agencies, anchor institutions and other large entities more accessible.

  • Improved Business Support Systems

    We aim to strengthen the effectiveness, accessibility, and capacity of support networks available for business owners and entrepreneurs of color.

We believe that increasing the number and percent of stable and established firms owned by people of color will lead to the longer-term outcomes of greater income, stronger influence, and wealth creation for these communities, enabling them to more fully participate in the economy.

To achieve these outcomes, we aim to increase the amount of capital that people of color-owned firms can access, as well as explore opportunities to change the racial and gender dynamic of investors. This aspect of our strategy is critical, because despite founders of color having high-potential business models, they are commonly overlooked for growth capital often due to implicit biases and a lack of cultural understanding of their products and potential markets.

We will target anchor institution strategies, corporate initiatives and shifts in government policy that create more opportunities for firms owned by people of color to generate revenue and scale operations. Additionally, we continue to value targeted support systems for people of color that nurture entrepreneurs’ growth through mentors, capital, skill development and information.

Selection Criteria

Improvements to Investing

We will support efforts that change the lens through which investment decisions are made and will explore opportunities to change the racial and gender dynamic of investors by supporting early-stage fund managers of color and funding leadership development opportunities designed to diversify the finance sector.

Inclusive Institutional Change

We will support initiatives that aim to shift the policies that guide procurement within large institutions to be more inclusive.

Professional Development Programs

We will support projects that build professional networks and organizations that help people of color scale their businesses and more fully participate in high-growth sectors.

Business Start-up & Growth

You can see recent Business Start-up & Growth grants below.

And browse all of our Inclusive Economies grants in our database.

 

Year Approved
Organization
Status
Amount
Duration
2021 Asian American Federation Path Created with Sketch.

General Operating Support

Active $50,000 6 months
2021 Black Gravity

The purpose of this grant is to provide seed money to launch Black Gravity. Black Gravity’s mission is to close the racial wealth gap by 2060. 

Active $50,000 12 months
2021 Boston Impact Initiative Fund Path Created with Sketch.

General operating support

Active $20,000 6 months
2021 Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Foundation Path Created with Sketch.

General program support for Minority Business Accelerators transition to affiliate status.

Active $50,000 6 months
2021 Community LIFT Path Created with Sketch.

To build River City Capital’s internal capacity to meet current opportunities and the great challenges of the COVID economy, by fueling Memphis’ small business owners of color with affordable, patient capital.

Active $540,000 36 months
2021 Didtechnology, Inc. Path Created with Sketch.

General operating support.

Active $400,000 24 months
2021 Greater Milwaukee Committee for Community Development Path Created with Sketch.

To advance the Greater Milwaukee Committee for Community Development’s efforts to increase wealth, access to capital, revenue growth and opportunities in communities of color by providing the tools, knowledge, and networked ecosystem to support ambitious growth and generational wealth for minority business owners.

Active $430,000 24 months

Related News & Insights

News
February 28, 2020

Living Cities Board Commits To Fund Racial Equity Centered Mission

Eighteen of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions have re-committed to work together for another three years within Living Cities, a long-standing collaborative. This marks the tenth time that these institutions have…

News
March 14, 2019

Living Cities Blog: Start Up, Stay Up, Scale Up [SU(3)] – Part 3

  San Francisco – along with Albuquerque and New Orleans – are a part of a Living Cities’ cohort intended to tackle entrepreneurial barriers for people of color. The initiative–named Start Up, Stay Up, Scale Up –is designed…

News
September 17, 2018

Living Cities Blog: Start Up, Stay Up, Scale Up [SU(3)] - Part 2

Albuquerque – along with San Francisco and New Orleans – are a part of a Living Cities’ cohort intended to tackle entrepreneurial barriers for people of color. The initiative–named Start Up, Stay Up, Scale Up –is designed to connect…

News
August 1, 2018

Living Cities Blog: Start Up, Stay Up, Scale Up [SU(3)] - Part 1

New Orleans – along with Albuquerque and San Francisco–are a part of a new Living Cities’ cohort intended to tackle entrepreneurial barriers for people of color. The initiative–named Start Up, Stay Up, Scale Up –is designed to connect…

Reports & Publications
January 25, 2017

Woodstock Institute Report: Patterns of Disparity

Woodstock Institute’s recently released report, "Patterns of Disparity: Small Business Lending in the Chicago and Los Angeles-San Diego Regions," examines the effects of disparate access to traditional bank small business loans in Chicago as…

You can see recent Business Start-up & Growth grants below.

And browse all of our Inclusive Economies grants in our database.

 

Year Approved
Organization
Status
Amount
Duration
2021 Asian American Federation Path Created with Sketch.

General Operating Support

Active $50,000 6 months
2021 Black Gravity

The purpose of this grant is to provide seed money to launch Black Gravity. Black Gravity’s mission is to close the racial wealth gap by 2060. 

Active $50,000 12 months
2021 Boston Impact Initiative Fund Path Created with Sketch.

General operating support

Active $20,000 6 months
2021 Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Foundation Path Created with Sketch.

General program support for Minority Business Accelerators transition to affiliate status.

Active $50,000 6 months
2021 Community LIFT Path Created with Sketch.

To build River City Capital’s internal capacity to meet current opportunities and the great challenges of the COVID economy, by fueling Memphis’ small business owners of color with affordable, patient capital.

Active $540,000 36 months
2021 Didtechnology, Inc. Path Created with Sketch.

General operating support.

Active $400,000 24 months
2021 Greater Milwaukee Committee for Community Development Path Created with Sketch.

To advance the Greater Milwaukee Committee for Community Development’s efforts to increase wealth, access to capital, revenue growth and opportunities in communities of color by providing the tools, knowledge, and networked ecosystem to support ambitious growth and generational wealth for minority business owners.

Active $430,000 24 months