Our Partners in Expanding Access to Capital
At the heart of the Access Ventures story is access to capital. While our work has expanded, both philosophically and geographically, our Access to Capital initiative is still intrinsic to our mission, creating equitable business opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities. Particularly for entrepreneurs in rural or disadvantaged areas, finding the funds to start or grow a business can be quite literally impossible. It’s a function of a system that’s geared towards large-scale financing of large-scale organizations with a preexisting amount of experience and collateral.
Our Access to Capital investments are designed, for now, to work within this system we’ve been handed. Where disadvantaged entrepreneurs are unable to fully participate in financial engines, we’re investing in organizations who are helping bridge the funding gap with creative and innovative solutions. It’s a needed approach right now, but our vision is that with time, our efforts will transform the system itself to be one that’s inherently more accessible and inclusive.
“At the heart of the Access Ventures story is access to capital.”
Looking for alternative places to invest is a key tactic across our initiatives, but it’s particularly prominent within this space, where we (as a capital organization) invest in other capital management entities. With alternative Access to Capital investments, we’re able to encourage and facilitate the work that other people are already doing effectively, while also honoring our other efforts with our time and resources. We think of this approach within “The 3 Ls,” which outlines where, how and why we define our alternative places to invest. The focus is on helping others maximize their impact in a way that maximizes our own impact as well.
Traditional banking infrastructures aren’t friendly to small businesses, particularly if those small businesses don’t possess the typical markers of preexisting wealth (like good credit scores and hefty collateral). The Growth Loan is a character-based, flexible-use loan for entrepreneurs who are barred from accessing those typical funding sources.
Investing in entrepreneurs is about more than just writing checks. Training, partnership, and support matters too. Village Capital (or VilCap) operates business development programs for entrepreneurs focused on solving problems in one of a handful of areas; some of these entrepreneurs go on to receive funding from Village Capital.
Says VilCap’s Deepak Menon, “Traditional VCs are mainly looking at ‘my-world problems’, not ‘real-world problems’. What this means is that they tend to solve problems only they’re familiar with.” Their alternative approach to investment selection helps them both discover and solve real-world problems.
The effects of a non-inclusive banking industry are only compounded in emerging markets, where capital is even more tightly focused on highly profitable entities. Advance Trade Growth combines mission emphasis on financial inclusion with a competitive risk profile, enabling ATG to leverage significant traditional capital.
Combining competitive financial returns with measurable positive impact is a big ask, particularly big in developing economies. TriLinc identifies small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South America and Africa who meet both standards yet are unable to access the capital needed to develop their vision.
Gloria Nelund notes that “What makes [TriLinc] different from other investment firms is that we embedded the ESG and impact tracking into our investment process.” It’s an approach that’s similar to our own philosophy of one-pocket investing.
When two industries with heavy gatekeeping meet, there’s a compounded gap in access with massive potential for opportunity creation. Keystone Real Estate Landing meets this challenge by providing loans to real estate projects that are unable to access institutional funding despite attractive repayment characteristics.
If you believe that access to capital is a major issue within communities then we want to hear from you! We are always looking for innovative fund managers and solutions to solve this pervasive problem across America.