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A new fund will help struggling businesses owned by women and people of color in the region. Photo: Unsplash.
A new fund will help struggling businesses owned by women and people of color in the region. Photo: Unsplash.

Enterprise Center launches $50 million fund to help women-led and diverse-owned companies

This comes after The Enterprise Center received $1 million for their 52nd Street Initiative.

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One of the most prominent non-profit organizations in West Philly, The Enterprise Center, is launching a fund in order to help struggling businesses owned by women and people of color within the Philadelphia, New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic area.

Many up-and-coming entrepreneurs and businesses have struggled since the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the protests during the George Floyd riots.

The trust, which is called The Innovate Capital Progress Fund was launched to specifically use its funds to assist investments in small businesses so they could thrive.

This investment was initially established two years ago and so far, it has reached $17 million for funding. The center is hoping to see $50 million by next year.

This program comes from a Small Enterprise Funding Firm (SBIC) which is from a privately owned firm licensed and controlled by the US Small Enterprise Administration.

Della Clark, president of the Enterprise Center of West Philadelphia, stated that advantages haven't always been geared towards women and people of color.

“That is due primarily to structural inequities and an absence of entry to generational wealth, particularly for enterprise house owners of coloration,” she stated in a press release. “Our fund is aimed immediately at this downside, offering capital for these companies to scale operations and unlock generational wealth for themselves.”

The Enterprise Center also runs The Enterprise Middle, which is an extension of US Division of Commerce’s Minority Enterprise Improvement Company (MBDA).

Miguel Estién, the performing nationwide director for the MBDA, said that this moment is a significant part of history, and he is excited to see the results of the new program and is happy to be a part of it.

“It is a historic achievement for a woman-led, minority enterprise capital fund — a sort of financing not simply obtainable for a lot of minority companies,” Estién stated.

Just last month, The Enterprise Center received a large grant of $1 million for its 52nd Street Initiative

The project aims to use the funding to add more businesses and create more jobs. Directors of the initiative are also hoping to redesign the area.

So far, there are many companies who have donated to the fund, such as Independence Blue Cross, College of Pennsylvania, and CHOP.

Clark is looking forward to seeing more companies invest in this program.

“We hope that different institutional traders will be part of us because the fund seeks to lift $50 million to handle the capital hole confronted by quite a few minority and women-owned companies within the area,” said Clark.

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