The $100 million New Voices Fund, a next-generation fund that will make private equity investments in businesses owned or managed by women of color, officially launched at the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans recently. The fund, which stems from a partnership between Sundial Brands and Unilever, focuses on investments from start-ups to Series C rounds and primarily invests in consumer, technology, and media entertainment brands. It aims to provide women of color entrepreneurs with the access, capital, and expertise that they need to grow their businesses and transform communities.
“The facts about investments in women of color entrepreneurs, particularly black women, are astonishing,” says Richelieu Dennis, founder of both Sundial and New Voices. “Entrepreneurship among women of color has increased 322 percent, but only 0.2 percent of those women receive access to the funding needed to sustain and grow their businesses. Still, female-led businesses that receive funding outperform their male peers by 63 percent. In addition, Black women raised just 0.0006 percent of the total $424.7 billion in tech venture funding since 2009. This is unacceptable. It is why the Fund is focused on making equity investments and creating an ecosystem that empowers women of color entrepreneurs to reach their full potential by addressing three of the most pertinent issues preventing their long-term success—access, capital, expertise.”
Since the soft launch of the fund’s website in February, $30 million has already been invested or committed to eight companies owned or operated by women of color, including Beauty Bakerie, Beautycon Media, Envested, McBride Sisters Wine, Mented, Sweeten, The Honey Pot Company, and The Lip Bar.
On Saturday, July 7, New Voices will host a daytime pitch festival at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, with the winners being presented at the Mercedes SuperDome in the evening. Prizes of $5,000 up to $25,000 will be awarded to the winners, creating a total of $100,000 invested.
“We are excited and proud to partner with each of these women to bring value that will help fulfill their visions for their companies and create opportunities for economic inclusion, social change and wealth creation in their communities,” said Dennis. “With the tools and support to demonstrate sustainable, profitable and unapologetically inclusive business models, there is no doubt that these women will shatter the stereotypical hurdles and ceilings they face. We are continuously reviewing applications and urge everyone to apply.”
Women of color entrepreneurs are encouraged to join the New Voices community and apply for funding or other resources by visiting www.newvoicesfund.com and completing a business profile.