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Meeting the Capital Needs of Black Entrepreneurs through Innovative Funding

BOSTON, MA (Dec. 18, 2023) Read the article here.  — Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is supporting three local businesses led by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs operating in diverse industries, through the Massachusetts Small Business Growth Fund.

LISC established the Massachusetts Small Business Growth Fund to address the unmet capital demands — estimated at $574 million annually — of entrepreneurs of color in Massachusetts, by investing in growing businesses owned by Black, Latino, and Indigenous entrepreneurs and other people of color. Unlike loan products, growth capital is designed as a long-term investment, ranging from $50,000-$250,000, where businesses repay only when they are successful in growing their revenue. The Growth Fund is generously supported by the Boston Children’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and BayCoast Bank.

Providing growth capital helps such businesses develop strong growth plans and strengthens their role in our community – and we know a strong community is a healthy community.
- Magnolia Contreras, Vice President for Community Health, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

"The investments made to date prove that innovative funding approaches like the Growth Fund are gamechangers. Small businesses are expanding their service area, hiring new staff, and enriching their communities,” said Yvonne Durbin, Director of LISC’s Capital Innovation Lab.

“Dana-Farber is proud to partner in the success of Boston’s business owners of color. Providing growth capital helps such businesses develop strong growth plans and strengthens their role in our community – and we know a strong community is a healthy community,” said Magnolia Contreras, Vice President for Community Health, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Ricardo Pierre-Louis of Prive Parking in Boston, MA

Thanks to a $100,000 investment, Ricardo Pierre-Louis is expanding his transportation service company Privé Parking, LLC to kick-off his initiative of providing much-needed shuttle service between Boston’s urban communities and the Seaport district. Privé will acquire a passenger van to absorb shuttle contracting costs, offer transportation solutions for special events, and bid on contracts requiring on-going shuttle services in Boston. 

ZaZiBar restaurant, owned by Olrie Roberts, also received an injection of capital to help furnish this new establishment located in Boston’s upscale seaport district. The other recipient of the Growth Fund was Ivyees Everything Honey, a Braintree-based boutique selling honey-derived wellness products.

ZaziBar, owned by Olrie Roberts

“This initiative by LISC is not just important, it is crucial. Statistics have shown that the greatest factors responsible for failed Black-owned businesses are lack of connections, trust, and resources from financial institutions,” said Ricardo Pierre-Louis, owner of Privé Parking LLC. “Investing in Black-owned businesses is inspiring, transformative, and powerful because it creates economic development for communities of color.”

“Small business owners like Ricardo and Olrie are exactly why we participate in this program,” said Nicholas Christ, President and CEO of BayCoast Bank. “Their success creates more success, more jobs, more opportunities, and more inspiration for future business owners. This program makes a difference, it moves the needle, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

LISC Boston continues to support the Commonwealth’s most underserved and under-resourced entrepreneurs to allow all small business owners to thrive, positively impact the economy, and build economic wealth in their families and communities.  The fund is now pivoting to focus on small businesses in the South Coast – LISC is recruiting South Coast-based candidates seeking growth capital and hopes that this fund will pave the way for additional investments in underrepresented businesses. Entrepreneurs of color seeking capital may request further information by clicking here.

About LISC

LISC is one of the country’s largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. LISC works with communities and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so that people and places can thrive. Since its founding in 1979, LISC has invested $26.7 billion to create more than 463,000 affordable homes and apartments, develop 78.5 million square feet of retail, community and educational space and help tens of thousands of people find employment and improve their finances.


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