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D.C. plans to launch “inclusive entrepreneurship” fund

ImpactAlpha, September 10 – The District of Columbia is partnering with the Marathon Foundation, a local philanthropy, to create an investment fund to support the city’s entrepreneurs, particularly those underrepresented in traditional lending or venture capital portfolios. The planned D.C. Inclusive Innovation Fund is an initiative of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration and will be seeded with $1.5 million from the city.

Of the roughly 700,000 residents in D.C., 47% are black, 11% are Latino, nearly 53% are female, and 4.5% self-identify as LGBT. The District identified a need for greater access to capital for diverse business owners as a means to building a more “inclusive innovation economy,” according to a 2016 report.

The Marathon Foundation is looking to begin raising additional capital for the fund this year, with plans to begin investing in mid-2019. It will target pre-seed, seed, and pre-Series A equity investments in companies at least 51% by women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities. The Marathon Foundation is also pledging entrepreneurial support services and education as needed.

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