The Economy League and ImpactPHL Launch PAGE Hurdle Fund with $125,000, Aiming to Eliminate Barriers for Black & Brown Businesses Pursuing Institutional Contracts to Grow Businesses & Build Wealth
July ,11, 2022 - Philadelphia, PA | According to data from the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia (ELGP), Philadelphia's major educational and healthcare anchor institutions spend approximately $2B+ per year across 19 sectors, yet less than 12% of spending goes to local Black and Brown-owned businesses, creating a significant opportunity to connect contracts, grow businesses, create jobs, and build wealth in historically underserved communities.
“As PAGE (Philadelphia Anchors for Growth and Equity) seeks to connect local Black and Brown-owned businesses to opportunities in institutional supply chains, businesses often face a barrier - relatively low-cost items such as certification, equipment, or insurance that aren’t a necessary business investment unless a business pursues a new or larger contract,” says Kenyatta James, PAGE Director at ELGP. “The PAGE Hurdle Fund aims to eliminate these costs for entrepreneurs and business owners, who are navigating traditional business challenges, compounded by COVID-19 impacts and the injustices of systemic racism that have inhibited capital access for Black and Brown communities.”
The Hurdle Fund launched with $125,000 and seeks to deploy 5-15 grants by the end of 2022 to businesses primarily working in the real estate and construction, professional services, and commodities sectors. The grant dollars will directly cover costs that derisk a qualified businesses' decision to pursue new or larger institutional contracts that the business is otherwise well-positioned to win and service. A local fund committee brings extensive experience to reviewing opportunities and approving the deployment of capital. The first two grants have been approved. Qualified applicants can apply directly here or reach out to Melina Harris ([email protected]) to receive more information.
The fund, which aims to be a prototype for a larger fund, was capitalized by local Investors Circle members. “The future well-being of our region depends on greater racial equity, which in turn depends on institutions and individuals investing in new ways,” says Peter Leone, an Investors Circle and Robin Hood Ventures angel investor who provided a foundational matching donation to The Hurdle Fund. “These early contributions to the Hurdle Fund provide catalytic capital that positions firms to grow their business with the anchor institutions participating in the PAGE program.”
The Hurdle Fund is a core element of PAGE Capital, launched in 2020 with support from a three-year Economic Development Agency (EDA) Build to Scale grant and is facilitated by The Economy League, ImpactPHL, and Investors Circle. PAGE Capital connects businesses engaged in the PAGE program with aligned capital and capital-related resources, while also cultivating a broad investor network committed to investing for local racial equity across the capital spectrum.
“As reported in the 2021 Philadelphia Equitable Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Assessment and Strategy report, Black and Brown business owners need ecosystem navigation, access to customers and markets, business services, and capital access,” says J’nelle Lawrence, Deputy Executive Director at ELGP. “In partnership with leaders across the ecosystem PAGE is working to deliver all of these elements to Black and Brown businesses poised for growth. The Hurdle Fund is a key piece of PAGE strategy that aims to close capital gaps that we believe will set businesses on the right path for securing new and larger institutional contracts.”
About The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia addresses critical issues facing Greater Philadelphia by providing impactful research, connecting diverse leaders, and advancing shared solutions. The ELGP north star is equitable and inclusive growth across our region. Learn more at economyleague.org
ImpactPHL is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to accelerating the Greater Philadelphia region’s impact economy. We encourage and help individuals and organizations align their financial assets with their values. Our community includes investors large and small, foundations, family offices, social entrepreneurs, and business leaders. We connect and grow this community via advocacy, collaboration, events, education, and information sharing. Learn more at www.impactphl.org.
Investors Circle is a program through the American Sustainable Business Network. The mission of Investors Circle is to pull together money, expertise and connections for the people creating a better economy: for our society and the environment, as a powerful, diverse and inclusive community. We do this to catalyze the NEXT economy; a global economy that is regenerative, just, and prosperous for everyone. Learn more at www.asbnetwork.org/investors-circle.
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