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The Vice President Kamala Harris recently announced a $32 million federal investment in ten minority and women-led venture capital firms in Durham, North Carolina’s Historic Black Wall Street. These funds, coming from the American Rescue Plan, are expected to kickstart more than $90 million in overall investments to early-stage small businesses in the state. The goal of this initiative is to make equity capital investments available to historically underserved small businesses and entrepreneurs, with the hope of promoting economic growth and development in these communities.

The funding awarded through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is projected to lead to an additional $60 million in private investment. The SSBCI, established in 2010, provides funding to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments for programs to increase lending and investing in small businesses. The American Rescue Plan expanded the SSBCI to provide $10 billion in support, with the expectation of catalyzing up to $10 of private investment for every $1 of SSBCI capital funding. This initiative aims to provide more opportunities for small businesses who have historically faced barriers to accessing capital and support.

The success of this private investment is seen in North Carolina and other states, where awardees of SSBCI funding are committed to and skilled in raising private funds. For example, Symphonic Capital is an early-stage fund that invests in companies closing access gaps in health and wealth, while Wocstar Capital focuses on creating wealth in communities of color by supporting women of color entrepreneurs and diverse tech teams. RevTechLabs, a majority female and Latina-owned entrepreneurship center, plans to invest in over 200 early-stage companies with traditionally underrepresented founders in financial, health, and insurance technologies. LeVert Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund, will invest in next-generation technologies with the potential to transform the agricultural technology industry.

With black business ownership growing at the fastest pace in 30 years and a record number of small business applications being submitted in recent years, investments like the one in North Carolina and other states play a crucial role in fostering this success. By providing funding and support to minority and women-led venture capital firms, the government is aiming to create a more equitable economic landscape by empowering historically underserved communities and promoting entrepreneurship. This investment has the potential to not only stimulate economic growth in North Carolina but also serve as a model for other states looking to support small businesses and entrepreneurs from marginalized backgrounds.

In addition to financial support, the federal investment in the venture capital firms is also expected to provide mentorship and networking opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs in North Carolina. By connecting these small business owners with experienced investors and industry leaders, the initiative aims to provide them with the resources and knowledge needed to succeed in their respective industries. This holistic approach to supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs can lead to long-term economic empowerment and growth in marginalized communities, ultimately creating a more diverse and resilient economy in the state.

Overall, the federal investment in minority and women-led venture capital firms in North Carolina is a significant step towards promoting equity and inclusion in the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. By providing financial support, mentorship, and networking opportunities to historically underserved small businesses, the initiative has the potential to not only spur economic growth but also create a more diverse and vibrant business community. As black business ownership continues to rise and small business applications reach record levels, investments like this one play a crucial role in ensuring that all entrepreneurs have the opportunity to succeed and thrive in the American economy.

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