Ohio Program for Black Founders in Need of Venture Capital Investment

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Black founders continue to lag far behind their counterparts in venture capital funding.

In fact, the founders of Black and Latinix have raised $2.3 billion in funding as of August 31, 2020. This figure means that the founders of Black and Latinx have only raised 2.6% of the $87.3 billion of all funding founders have secured so far in 2020, according to an analytics firm. Crunchbase. Other data from TechCrunch shows that “only 2% of all partner-level VCs are black, and 81% of VC companies do not have a single black partner.”

Experts point out that this disparity is fueled by the racial wealth gap, leaving many black entrepreneurs unable to secure much-needed venture capital funding.

To help address the lack of strong venture capital (VC) investments in Black Founders in Ohio, the “Black Founders and Black VC Program” will be hosted by JobsOhio in partnership with Eficionado LLC. The event will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 25 at the Hilton Columbus in Easton.

The program aims to create, enhance and promote collaborative action to make Ohio a destination for black founders and black VCs based on the four Cs of success: culture, colleges, business and capital, says Terry Gore, director principal of financial services. at JobsOhio.

“Black founders will have the chance to create and have a sense of belonging with the program,” says Eficionado Founder and CEO Eric Troy.

A new advisory board will be announced at the event to offer advice on how black founders can launch or grow their businesses.

Gore says, “Ohio just had a banner year in 2021 for venture capital funding that topped more than $2 billion, doubling the amount raised in 2020. With the steady rise the state has seen these years, this should continue.”

Attendees will learn from black VCs how and why the program will be vital for black founders, according to organizers. They too will get details on how to get more venture capital funding, get sustainability resources, and get collaboration opportunities with other black founders.

Troy explained that there is a level of “cultural intelligence” that needs to be high when it comes to supporting black founders and investing in black wealth. He will lead a fireside chat with Candice Matthews Fern, General Partner at Lightship Capital; Steve Stivers, President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce; and Jay Baily, President and CEO of the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs.

Matthews Fern of Lightship Capital in Cincinnati added, “By creating meaningful programming to support Black Founders and Black VCs, Ohio is setting a progressive and needed example nationally. Investing in our businesses and funds is the only way to create generational wealth, and the work done through programs like Jobs Ohio is integral to achieving that goal.

For more details on JobsOhio, click here.

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