Build on regional strengths to support local entrepreneurs



Village Capital set out to find what works for local entrepreneurs in a one-year pilot experiment called VilCap Communities. The initiative tested versions of the VilCap model through local accelerators, incubators, seed funds and other entrepreneur-support organizations in more than two dozen communities in and outside the U.S.

Programs that focused on regional strengths brought in funding more quickly and attracted higher quality entrepreneurs. Eleven of the 26 local programs were unable to reach their fundraising goals for the programs, reports Village Capital, and none got by without philanthropic funding.

“An incubator is a part of the city’s infrastructure, and we’re not in it to make money,” said Antony Seppi of the Hamilton Mill in Cincinnati, where the cohort of entrepreneurs focused on water.

Entrepreneurs in Portland, Maine, bolstered the city’s ecosystem of health startups, while those in Antigua, Guatemala focused on agriculture.

Local ecosystem bonus: Mission Investors Exchange has been digging in on place-based impact investing and is looking for place-based practitioners to participate in a study.

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