Half of entrepreneurs don’t have this key relationship—you can change that

ON May 21, 2021

Ask most successful people how they launched their business and they will say luck, grit, and support from friends and family: a spouse, their parents, maybe a successful sibling, or their dear Uncle Joe who’s always believed in them (and if they’re well connected, a few wealthy friends). Yet while most entrepreneurs have plenty of grit, perseverance, and sometimes a bit of luck, many lack a network of friends and family members with excess capital to spare, particularly women, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), who are half of the US’s entrepreneurs.

The lack of systems where entrepreneurs and investors can meet, form relationships of trust, and possibly do business together is one of the six gaps we identified in our Twin Cities Impact Investing Ecosystem study. While this is a nationwide issue, what gives me hope are all the solutions popping up to address the “friends and family” gap, both locally and across the country. 

We’re excited to hear from national featured guests who are actively solving these impact investing issues at our virtual Impact Investing conference on Thursday, June 10th. We’ll hear from:

  • Heron Foundation President Dana Bezerra, sharing a truly community-centered approach to foundation giving and investing. 
  • Monique Aiken, the founder of the Reconstruction Project and Managing Director of The Investment Integration Project, how we can “learn from history to create opportunities for equitable wealth-building now”
  • Impact investing educator, connector and instigator Cory Donovan, Executive Director of Impact PHL
  • Devon Walls, leading New Day Chester, an artists cooperative creating economic vitality in Philadelphia

Expect discussions with attendees and leaders from some of the many emerging and established Twin Cities-based funds and initiatives. We call them “sparks” because they are lighting fires for action by addressing the gaps in our ecosystem and inviting others to join their initiatives. They include:

We hope you can join us on the 10th, click here for full information and registration. Stay tuned for more announcements!


About Susan Hammel, Founder and CEO

As a philosophy major who went to Wall Street, Susan Hammel translates between passionate social changemakers and expert accountants. In her role as CEO of Cogent Consulting PBC, Susan is celebrating over 20 years as an impact advisor and is serving her sixth year as Minnesota Council on Foundation Executive in Residence for impact investing. Like in her youth, Susan remains optimistic and passionate about changing the world and enjoys downtime by the lake with her husband and the 4 adult children in their blended family, their partners, plus a recent addition of a beautiful grandson. 

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What I'm doing now

When COVID-19 and the ensuing economic disruption hit, I worried that impact investing would recede as investors sought comfort in old-style investing and social entrepreneurs kept their day jobs. Luckily, my worries were for naught: more investors are interested in doing good and doing well. More philanthropists are looking for innovative ways to address the multiple crises we face: health, economic, racial, civic, climate, and rural. Social entrepreneurs are launching and growing their ideas to address the world's problems. These leaders give me hope!