Together, Jalia Ventures and UNCF will launch Impact America HBCU Venture Catalyst (Impact America HBCU VC), a venture competition and incubation initiative that revitalizes and transforms underserved markets and stimulates economic activity in America by supporting the development and scaling of minority-owned businesses that have a social or environmental mission.
Impact America HBCU VC commits to raising $3.5 million over two years to expose at least 1,500 HBCU students and alumni to social entrepreneurship and impact investing, and provide a select number of 10-15 scalable and high impact companies with seed financing and technical assistance to scale their enterprises.
The HBCU VC consists of an innovative, 2-year technical assistance, training and business incubation effort with three components: venture competition to identify and help create a pipeline of entrepreneurs of color; incubator-readiness training to educate applicants about concept development, team formation, business planning and management, and revenue models; and, a 12-month incubation program with advanced business training, mentoring, seed financing, and networking. University partnerships within the HBCU networks will help engage the campus community and disseminate announcements about the competition and receive the proposed business plans, which will then be reviewed by a panel of experts according to specific criteria. Subsequent rounds of judging will narrow the field of candidates. The culmination of this commitment will be a social enterprise conference where 10-15 finalists will pitch to a panel of angel and venture investors who have committed to invest $1 million of seed capital within a 12-month incubation period. Entrepreneurs will receive ongoing mentoring, training, and opportunities for professional development.
Through the Impact America HBCU VC Initiative, UNCF will leverage its network to expose more African American women scientist to social entrepreneurship and conduct targeted outreach to identify and cultivate those who have an innovative idea, concept, or business that could have a significant social impact.
Program Year 2012-2014
June - December 2012: Fundraising ($1 million of seed commitments from investors and corporate sponsors, $1 million for program staff to manage the competition including promotions, business plan review, workshops/business training and mentorship with stakeholders, and $1.5 million to host conference and 12-month incubation program).
September 2012 - December 2012: Announce and leverage support of UNCF HBCU partner schools to promote the venture competition. Host webinar series to educate potential applicants on the social enterprise landscape and provide tips for preparing their applications and executive summaries.
January 15, 2013: Applications (name, address, video submissions describing their concept, etc.) and executive summaries of business venture due for first round of the venture competition.
January 15, 2013 - February 15, 2013: Applications and executive summaries reviewed, semi-finalists selected. The goal is to receive and review 1,500 business plans for first competition. Of these plans, 5-10 percent of businesses will be selected to participate in business development workshops, and, of this set, 10-20 percent will be selected to pitch to investors and qualify for the 18-month incubation model. The goal is to identify and invest $1 million into a group of 10-15 scalable and high impact companies, and provide them with the technical assistance, training and access to resources needed to scale companies.
February 15, 2013 - April 15, 2013: Semi-finalists assigned mentors and participate in business training and pitch presentation workshops.
April 2013: Finalists selected for the pitch event.
May 2013: Host social enterprise conference and a 'finalists pitch' to a panel of angel and venture investors who have committed to invest $1 million of seed capital for 10-15 finalists within the 12-month incubation period. Entrepreneurs will receive ongoing mentoring, training and opportunities for professional development. It is anticipated the incubated group of companies will create a total of 50 new jobs by the end of the 12-month incubation period.
According to the Minority Business Development Agency 2010 Economic Disparities report, the average gross receipt for non-minority-owned firms is $490,000. This is more than double that of minority-owned firms collectively, $179,000, and more than six times that of African American firms individually, $74,000. African American firms are just 7 percent of all classifiable firms, and contribute to less than 2 percent of overall revenues and employment. Additionally, when examining the demographics of the social enterprise sector, it is clear that there is a lack of diversity in the field. Many factors have been attributed to the lack of ownership and business acumen within the African American community, i.e. lack of capital, advisory, and visibility/access to successful entrepreneurs. Impact America HBCU Venture Catalyst is designed to address and mitigate these barriers.
Jalia Ventures, a partnership initiative between Serious Change LP, Josh Mailman, and Kesha Cash, has seeded and helped raise capital in excess of $10 million for US-based minority owned businesses with inherent social/sustainable missions. Serious Change LP, a global impact investment fund, has invested over $30 million into social ventures during the last 5 years. The Jalia Ventures national network, along with Josh Mailman and Serious Change LP, extends across sectors and includes stakeholders committed to social and economic justice and willing to mentor and advise Impact America HBCU participants.
UNCF has a history of eliminating barriers that prevent African Americans from accessing the education and systems they need to thrive. Since 1944, UNCF has supported the education of more than 400,000 students of African descent with more than $2 billion in financial aid. Through its network of historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), UNCF provides access to a talented pipeline of entrepreneurs of color.
Impact America HBCU VC is seeking individuals and organizations who can assist with the following: securing funding to implement this initiative and address barriers that prevent social entrepreneurs of color from gaining access to the information and financial resources they need to thrive; serving as mentors and advisors to Impact America HBCU VC semi-finalists and finalists; and, speaking at regional workshops and the national conference/pitch competition about various aspects of social entrepreneurship and impact investing.
Impact America HBCU VC is available to explore opportunities for collaboration as they relate to increasing awareness about social entrepreneurship among communities of color and eliminating the barriers that prevent them from accessing the technical, financial and supportive services that they need to launch and scale their social enterprises. Additionally, Impact America HBCU VC is open and receptive to partnering with stakeholders within the public and private sectors to: create and/or strengthen the social entrepreneurship workforce development pipeline; implement relevant campus-based outreach activities; and, help to build dialogue between historically black colleges and universities and private or public sector leaders interested in promoting innovation among communities of color - especially African Americans.