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A Collaboration with the U.S. Department of the Treasury 

Four-Pronged Strategy

Led and incubated by Hyphen, IIE leverages private and philanthropic investments and serves as a force multiplier for historic levels of federal resources, increasing the flow of capital to entrepreneurs of color and creating opportunities for them to start and grow their businesses. 

IIE’s strategy has four main components: (1) building capacity among community lenders, fund managers, and other capital providers focused on reaching entrepreneurs of color; (2) deploying philanthropic and private capital through two dedicated investment vehicles to leverage SSBCI funding; (3) serving as a centralized hub to enable collaboration, address gaps, share best practices, and coordinate learning and evaluation; and (4) generates media coverage that highlights IIE’s approach and impact.. 

“Public-philanthropic collaboration is key to SSBCI implementation in Kansas. NetWork Kansas is excited to partner with IIE to help underserved entrepreneurs of color startup and grow successful businesses in the Sunflower State.” — Steve Radley, CEO, NetWork Kansas

Initial Geographic Targets

IIE is a national initiative working to catalyze capital and develop and share best practices across the small business ecosystem. During IIE’s incubation period (January 2023 - June 2024), IIE is working with an initial target group of nine states (in orange below) and will add one to two Tribal Nations or consortia once applications have been approved. In addition, IIE is working on a limited basis with seven states (in blue below) where our partners have existing relationships and bodies of work. While IIE is focusing on these initial geographies and partners, lessons, best practices, and resources will be shared more broadly across the country.

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Implementation Partners

Five exceptional organizations with deep expertise have joined forces with Hyphen to serve as implementation co-leads for IIE.

Suppliers: Founders First Capital Partners
Founders First Capital Partners (FFCP) specializes in capital funding for business-to-business and business-to-government suppliers. As an IIE implementation co-lead, FFCP identifies diverse contractors in need of capital and creates pipeline development; collaborates with supplier councils to meet the needs of supplier businesses; helps supplier businesses scale while providing returns for investors through a "shared success capital" approach; and supports alternative capital providers in piloting new approaches.

High Growth: JumpStart
JumpStart is an impact investing fund that works to increase access to venture capital for entrepreneurs of color. As an IIE implementation co-lead, JumpStart leads III.VC, an ambitious effort to help venture capital managers of color raise $6 billion in assets under management by 2025. JumpStart also expands SSBCI awareness and opportunities for emerging fund managers and in the VC/high-growth space; communicates state SSBCI priorities to investors, fund managers, and other high-growth stakeholders; offers SSBCI application support to emerging fund managers; provides training and technical assistance to support fund management/execution; and raises match capital.


Main Street: Next Street, Aspen Institute’s Business Ownership Initiative, and Scale Link
Next Street develops solutions for entrepreneurs facing unequal access. As an IIE implementation co-lead, Next Street generates awareness of and access to responsible and flexible lending products, such as revenue-based financing (RBF) and lines of credit (LOC); partners with CDFIs and other capital providers to support their ability to distribute new products and reach small businesses effectively; supports innovative approaches to underwriting; and expands financing options for pathways to employee ownership.

The Aspen Institute’s Business Ownership Initiative (BOI) and Scale Link focus on helping CDFIs tap the SSBCI program to scale their <$100,000 lending. BOI has been helping microlenders to increase their scale and impact for more than 30 years. Its focus on microlending and smaller-dollar business loans is driven by the importance of smaller loans in meeting the needs of business owners of color, women, rural firms, and others who have been excluded from access to traditional sources of capital. 

Scale Link, created in collaboration with BOI, is a three-year old CDFI that has created a secondary market for CDFI-originated microloans. Together, BOI and Scale Link work with a cohort of their CDFI partners to assess and identify ways in which SSBCI programs can effectively support their lending. Through the IIE Knowledge Network, they engage with Treasury and SSBCI administrators to identify practical strategies and tools for enabling SSBCI to support microlending. 


Tribal: Mission Driven Finance

Mission Driven Finance is an impact investing firm entirely dedicated to reimagining a financial system that works for everyone. As the IIE implementation co-lead for Tribal, MDF develops formal partnerships with Tribal Nations (or consortia) to design and pilot solutions that address key capital and training/technical assistance needs for Tribes and deployment partners; aggregates philanthropic and private capital investments to accelerate Native-led capital initiatives; and engages with public and private sector stakeholders to ensure that the needs of Tribal Nations are centered when designing programs.

State SSBCI Administrator Engagement: Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University

The Nowak Metro Finance Lab was founded in 2018 at Drexel University to help cities identify and implement innovative strategies to leverage public assets and fund public infrastructure for public benefit, with a focus on supporting inclusive and equitable growth. To help states maximize federal SSBCI funds, the Nowak Lab works with and brings together states, capital providers, and broader stakeholders to identify, codify, and scale innovative models for delivering quality capital to a broader diversity of entrepreneurs.

Knowledge Network

The IIE Knowledge Network, coordinated by Next Street, liaises with states, capacity-building partners, practitioners, capital deployment partners, and other key stakeholders on an ongoing basis to provide support based on gaps and opportunities identified within states. The Network’s activities include:

Content and Programming

  • Generate and deliver best-in-class training materials in collaboration with IIE deployment partners, emerging fund managers, and other capital providers

  • Support the sharing of resources including legal documentation, technology recommendations, and product design

Convening and Knowledge Sharing

  • Establish a digital platform for participants to interact with each other and house a repository of tools and resources 

  • Work with Nowak to support a bi-monthly Community of Practice with key stakeholders and a bi-monthly state forum

  • Convene a quarterly sharing session for all IIE leads, capacity-building partners, and other stakeholders

  • Maintain a shared calendar of SSBCI-related events

  • Create and host topic-specific speaker events

To learn more about IIE and how you can support the initiative, contact Felecia Bartow, VP of Special Initiatives,

or Li Zhou, VP of Partnerships.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and their success creates stronger communities. We are excited to support the Initiative for Inclusive Entrepreneurship as a way for public and private sector organizations to support business owners and entrepreneurs. The initiative will bring critical resources needed for growth and scale, which are often not equitably available, to participating businesses.”

— Heather Higginbottom

Co-Head of Global Philanthropy and Head of Research & Policy,

JPMorgan Chase

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