A fund specifically designed to give Black entrepreneurs in Detroit a seat at the venture capital table recently reached a major financial milestone. The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund announced that it has nearly tripled the amount of money that will be allocated towards helping Black business owners expand their companies, Black Enterprise reported.

The fund, which is backed by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and other investors, has grown from $6.5 million to over $18 million, the news outlet writes. It was initially put in place so that small businesses in Detroit that are owned by entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds could play a larger role in the revitalization of the city.

Through the fund entrepreneurs of color have access to loans that range from $50,000 to $200,000. To ensure that Black business owners can continue to leverage the fund, the Kellogg Foundation and JPMorgan Chase have expanded their contributions and other smaller firms like the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, and the Kresge Foundation have come on board. “Our Entrepreneurs of Color Fund has created great economic opportunity for minority-owned small businesses in Detroit this year,” president of the Detroit Development Fund Ray Waters told Black Enterprise. “This expansion of the fund will create countless new jobs and bring new goods and services to even more neighborhoods in the coming years.”

Ever since its inception in 2015, small businesses in Detroit have witnessed a significant amount of growth. Black Enterprise reported that 58 percent of consumer spending happened at small businesses in the city in 2016. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says that he is committed to increasing the racial and ethnic diversity among entrepreneurs in the city. “We’re doing everything we can in Detroit to create more opportunities for people of color and providing entrepreneurs greater access to the small business capital they need to succeed is helping us accomplish that,” said Duggan, according to the news outlet.

Detroit is currently the fourth biggest city in the country for entrepreneurs of color with nearly 50,000 minority-owned businesses. The city is trying to ensure that people of color have the opportunity to play an integral role in its revival. There has been a $5 million initiative launched in Detroit to help Black real estate developers rebuild the city.

SOURCE: Black Enterprise

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