– A $100,000 grant from Altria has made the launch of a pilot program for the initiative possible –
Activation Capital, an independent authority of the Commonwealth of Virginia focused on advanced technology entrepreneurship, has been awarded a $100,000 grant for capacity building for minority entrepreneur development. The initiative will grow the number of technology-driven businesses led and owned by ethnic minority founders, particularly Black, African American, Latino, American Indian, and Native people.
This initiative will enable direct investments into entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) to deploy a culturally competent framework for minority entrepreneur development and provide administrative support to ESOs to help improve program sustainability.
Speaking about the grant, President and CEO of Activation Capital, Chandra Briggman, said, “Activation Capital’s mission is to help grow tech entrepreneurship. We see an opportunity to expand the pipeline for technology entrepreneurs. By implementing initiatives like this one to attract more underrepresented individuals into the field and plug minority founders into the entrepreneurial ecosystem, we will generate more impactful social and financial benefits for the Central Virginia region.”
The new initiative is designed to support a collaborative network of organizations addressing the unique communication, training, and relationship needs of ethnic minority founders. The fund will expand the ESO networks’ capacity for distributing tailored programming and connect the diverse founders they serve to the statewide resource-rich entrepreneurship community.
“Many entrepreneurs of color need access to capital, broad networks and support to grow their businesses through the challenging times,” said Kathryn Fessler, Altria’s Sr. Director of Community Impact. “Activation Capital plays a critical role in enabling Richmond’s Black and Brown business innovators, and we hope our support will help the region become a best place for Black-owned firms.”
Upon completing an initial pilot, Activation Capital seeks to build a new grant program. Through matching funds from the public and private sectors, the organization will expand capacity-building efforts to grow minority tech entrepreneurship.
About Activation Capital: Activation Capital engages and connects the many influential players in our innovation ecosystem and strives to give startup founders access to the tools and resources they need to navigate the entrepreneurial process. These resources include the VA Bio+Tech Park campus focused on life sciences and advanced technology companies; the Riverflow Growth Fund, a seed fund; and the Ecosystem Direct Investment Fund (EDIF), which provides grants to entrepreneur support organizations. The Activation Council supports and coordinates these efforts among the many available resources to foster innovation in companies of all kinds. Activation Council brings clarity and perspective in the short term and vision for the long term, generating more collision points that lead to successful business outcomes. Activation Capital provides the resources and connections for any person to develop their idea from start to phenomenal.