Venture Noire announces second fundraising cycle to support minority owned businesses
Venture Noire, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Black and minority entrepreneurs, announced the completion of its initial program funded by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation and through The Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce.
With the grant, Venture Noire was able to provide programming and resources, including access to capital, to over 1,000 Black and minority owned startups nationwide. The organization has hosted 27 total events, worked with over 200 Black and minority entrepreneurs, and has helped to officially launch four new businesses which resulted in additional job creation. Venture Noire is now seeking to raise $5 million in its second fundraising cycle to launch two cohorts featuring up to 20 startups in order to further support this ecosystem of underrepresented founders in the US.
A key focus of the organization centers around raising awareness of, and supporting the Black business community in America's heartland, an area that is often overlooked. Through Venture Noire's efforts, emerging tech startup Sootchy, led by David Adefeso, is establishing an office and has hired a team in the Bentonville, AR area where Venture Noire is headquartered, in order to capitalize on this growing entrepreneurial community. Looking ahead, Venture Noire aims to continue to build and grow this community to create a tech and entrepreneurial culture hub that extends from the Heartland to the coasts.
Keenan Beasley, Founder, Venture Noire: "A driving factor behind Venture Noire is our mission to help close the Racial Wealth Gap in America. One of the fastest, most effective ways to do that is through business creation. By supporting these early stage, diverse entrepreneurs we're helping to level the playing field and create additional opportunities for the Black community to close the wealth gap."
Today, only around 1% of venture capital dollars goes to entrepreneurs of color. Coupled with discriminatory lending practices and institutional bias, America has undercut over 1 million minority-owned businesses totaling over 9 million potential jobs and $300 billion in collective national income. Venture Noire seeks to correct this disparity by providing Black and minority entrepreneurs with the tools and visibility they need to be successful in growing their businesses and raising capital. One way the organization achieves this is by providing grants and gifts in kind to startups within the program which act as a Friends and Family-sized investments. This allows these startups to test their service or products in the marketplace and achieve the crucial MVP (minimal viable product) and use-case that many Venture Capitalists look for when deciding whether or not to invest. Since launching, the organization has facilitated the distribution of nearly $180,000 in non-dilutive capital.
Emma Willis, Director of the Heartland region at Venture Noire said: "As we look to the second installation of our programming, we have refined our processes to maximize impact for the entrepreneurs we work with. In 2021, we're launching two cohorts which will support around 20 entrepreneurs. In addition to access to personalized programs and resources, each cohort will end with a showcase in Bentonville in front of investors and corporations to both encourage follow-on growth for the startups, as well as an increased ecosystem of entrepreneurs for the Bentonville economy."
Venture Noire was founded in 2018 to serve as a venture catalyst to support business creation and development in the Black community. The non-profit relies on three core pillars to empower aspiring business leaders which are education on business best practices, a community of established peers for networking and mentorship opportunities and access to capital. Through this approach, Venture Noire aims to help stimulate over 1,000 new businesses a year, creating thousands of jobs in underserved and underprivileged communities.