Commerce Department And NAIC Create Fund To Deploy $1 Billion In Minority And Women-Owned Businesses

The Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency and the National Association of Investment Companies, a trade group backed by some of the nation’s biggest private equity firms and hedge funds, are creating a fund aimed at aggregating and deploying a total of $1 billion of growth capital for minority-owned businesses.

With the grant, the NAIC will launch a Minority Growth Equity Funds Initiative, which will quantify the demand for capital among minority and women-owned businesses, and then tap its network of investment firms to funnel growth capital to these entrepreneurs.

“The importance of minority-owned businesses to our nation’s economy cannot be overstated,” says Robert Greene, chief executive of the NAIC. “But the entrepreneurs who run them are often overlooked in the growth equity market, substantially limiting their ability to scale.”Today In: Banking & Insurance

Based in Washington, D.C., the NAIC is the largest network of diverse-owned private equity firms and hedge funds in the United States, which collectively manage $150 billion. Its members run a gamut from the top echelons of the dealmaking world to younger funds just beginning to scale. Vista Equity Partners, headed by billionaire Robert Smith, who graced Forbes’ cover in March 2018 and recently devoted $40 million to paying off the student loans of Morehouse College’s graduating class, is one of the NAIC’s largest and most influential members. Other big members include Advent Capital Management, Sycamore Partners and growth investor, Valor Equity Partners. Over the past year Forbes and Institutional Investor profiled Heard Capital’s William Heard, a younger member just beginning to raise significant capital.

As the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency and the NAIC build their growth equity initiative, there are now also notable private efforts attached to big institutions also aimed at making inroads.