Black founders continue to trail far behind their counterparts when it comes to venture capital financing.
In fact, Black and Latinix founders raised $2.3 billion in funding as of August 31, 2020. The figure means that Black and Latinx founders harvested only 2.6% of $87.3 billion of all funding that founders got at that point in 2020, according to analytics firm Crunchbase. Other data from TechCrunch show that “only 2% of all partner-level VCs are Black, and 81% of VC firms don’t have a single Black partner.”
Experts point to that disparity being fueled by the racial wealth gap, leaving many Black entrepreneurs unable to gain much-needed venture capital funding.
To help tackle 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 be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 25 at Hilton Columbus at Easton.
The program aims to create, enhance, and promote an action collaborative to make Ohio a destination for Black founders and Black VCs based on the four Cs to success: culture, colleges, corporations, and capital, says Terry Gore, senior director, financial services at JobsOhio.
“Black Founders will have a chance to create and have a sense of ownership with program,” says Eficionado Founder and CEO Eric Troy.
A new advisory council will be announced at the event geared to offer tips on how Black founders can launch or expand their businesses.
Gore says, “Ohio is coming off a record year in 2021 for venture funding which exceeded more than $2 billion, doubling the amount raised in 2020. With the steady uptick the state has seen in recent years that is expected to continue.”
Attendees will gain knowledge from Black VCs on how and why the program will be vital to Black founders, organizers say. They too will gain details on how to secure more VC funding, obtain sustainability resources, and get collaborative opportunities with other Black founders.
Troy explained there is a level of “cultural intelligence” that needs to be elevated pertaining to supporting Black founders and investing in Black wealth. He will moderate a fireside chat with Candice Matthews Brackeen, general partner at Lightship Capital; Steve Stivers, president & CEO at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce; and Jay Bailey, president and CEO at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs.
Matthews Brackeen of Lightship Capital in Cincinnati added, “By creating meaningful programming in support of Black founders and Black VC, Ohio is setting a progressive and necessary example, nationwide. Investment in our businesses and funds is the only way to generational wealth creation, and the work being done through programs like Jobs Ohio is integral to achieving that goal.”
For more details on JobsOhio, click here.