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

Top of my mind these days is investing in line with Diversity, Equity, Inclusion values. Many institutions promised bold moves after George Floyd was murdered. Who is following through and doing this well? Racial justice requires new pathways for capital flows. I’m excited to be part of the McKnight Foundation’s Groundbreak Coalition, aiming to deploy $2b in flexible capital over 10 years to disrupt the status quo. In Minnesota we are a generous state, a charitable state, a hard-working state: we need to try new approaches to create that famous quality of life for all. We are leading a session on Place Based Impact Investing at the Mission Investors Exchange conference in Baltimore. Reach out if you’ll be there so I can include you in the informal MN meet-ups.