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New Grand Rapids venture fund closer to making first investments in businesses owned by POC

Division Ave Heartside Downtown Grand Rapids
Posted at 1:06 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 13:06:28-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — One year after announcing a venture fund aimed at boosting businesses owned by people of color in West Michigan, New Community Transformation Fund is nearing the first organizational milestone of raising $10 million.

The $10 million figure is the amount of capital raise necessary for the fund to make its first investments in businesses owned by people of color, according to a news release Tuesday.

First-year investments and general updates on the organization’s activities were highlighted to investors and media during a Zoom call on Tuesday.

Successes shared on the call included:

  • Securing $8.5 million in committed investments, compared to a goal of raising $5 million
  • Obtaining a substantial Bank of America investment, in addition to the bank’s contribution of $200,000 in seed funding provided in 2020
  • Secured $1 million investments from Spectrum Health Ventures, Mercantile Bank and the Consumers Energy Foundation, which also provided $200,000 in seed money in 2020
  • Securing $100,000 in seed money from DTE

2021 milestones included:

  • Reaching $10 million in funding, which will allow the organization to begin investing
  • Making the first three investments in West Michigan-based, people of color-owned businesses
  • Hiring staff, such as a managing director, financial analysts and administrative positions
  • Implementing their template in other cities

“This fund aims to create a more diverse economy and drive economic prosperity in West Michigan’s communities of color,” said Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place, Inc. “Those who have already invested in the New Community Transformation Fund share this goal, and it is my hope that many others will join us in creating upward mobility for entrepreneurs that have not been given opportunity historically.”