The District is looking to put money behind its inclusive innovation efforts with an investment fund that will focus on providing capital for underrepresented entrepreneurs, including women and people of color.
According to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, the Inclusive Innovation Fund will focus on early stage ventures, providing seed funding. It will be led by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. The District would provide risk capital to “an investment professional partner that shares DC’s vision for inclusive innovation,” according to Bowser’s office.
It’s the latest extension of the District’s efforts around inclusive innovation. Funding was identified as the biggest area of need by entrepreneurs who responded for a 2016 report titled Pathways to Inclusion.
“Access to capital is critical to starting and growing businesses in the District, and underrepresented entrepreneurs – including people of color, women, and LGBTQ residents – often face particularly high barriers during the early stages. Our goal with this fund is to break down some of those barriers and get more residents on pathways to the middle class,” Bowser said in a statement.
However, not all of the details are worked out. In announcing the fund, Bowser’s office is issuing a “Request for Information.” It’s seeking ideas on the design and approach of the new program.
“We encourage responses from organization or individuals with experience working with diverse founders, supporting entrepreneurs and/or investors in DC, raising funds and/or investing in high-growth companies,” the document states.
Responses are due by March 6.See the RFI
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