View Commitment: CGI America Sustainable Finance Panel

New York, NY, June 12, 2012. Jalia Ventures, which makes early stage investments in mission-driven minority entrepreneurs, announced the launch of a business training and incubation initiative on June 8, 2012 as part of a Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative America Conference. Jalia Ventures is launching Impact America HBCU Venture Catalyst, a capacity-building initiative that will grow awareness of social and environmental issues, while providing training for minority entrepreneurs through a venture competition and incubator program for mission-driven startups.

Impact America is raising $3.5 million to fund the initiative with the goal of energizing and supporting talented minority entrepreneurs who plan to launch for-profit companies that have social or environmental missions and that create jobs in the United States. Impact America has already identified several important partners, including the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), to help execute the plan. The initiative is expected to attract more than 1,500 applicants from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country. Out of those applicants, 10 to 15 finalists will present their ideas to a panel of angel investors and venture capitalists to compete for a portion of $1 million in seed funding. The finalists will also receive mentoring, technical assistance and training through a 12-month business incubation program.

Impact America aims to address social and environmental issues by scaling minority-owned, mission-driven companies. Growing the pipeline of minority businesses is essential to addressing the income and employment disparities that exist in the United States. While 8 percent of White children are born into poverty, 40 percent of African American children are born into poverty.[1] In addition, the average 2011 unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanics was 15.8 and 11.5 percent, respectively, compared to 7.9 percent for Whites.[2]

The disparities continue after minorities launch businesses. Minority-owned firms generate average revenues of $179,000 compared with $490,000 for non-minority owned firms. The gap is worse for African American owned firms, which have average revenues of $74,000.[3]

Kesha Cash
Director of Investments

About Jalia Ventures: Jalia Ventures provides seed and expansion capital to companies owned by entrepreneurs of color that have a social/sustainable mission inherent in the business model, and/or make a positive impact on underserved U.S. communities. Investment size ranges from $250,000 – $500,000 and the firm has the capacity to provide follow-on capital. Jalia Ventures believes in the value of impact investing and its power to produce meaningful financial and social returns. The firm applies a hands-on approach to assist entrepreneurs with developing and executing strategic growth plans, and securing larger rounds of capital.

[1] “Portrait of Inequality: Black Children in America” – Children’s Defense Fund, 2011
[2] “The African American Labor Force in the Recovery” – U.S. Department of Labor, 2012
[3] “Economic Disparities” – Minority Business Development Agency, 2010