Jalia Ventures Advancing Opportunities for Entrepreneurs of Color
Kesha Cash says minority-owned businesses have much potential for growth and impact
Monday April 2, 2012 -- Camille Jensen
Jalia Ventures had only recently launched when co-founder Kesha Cash started working with Red Rabbit founder Rhys Powell, but the experience was a confirmation of the need for an investment firm dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs of color.
Cash says Powell, whose company provides healthy luncheons to New York’s charter and independent schools, bootstrapped Red Rabbit to the $1-million mark, and had little time or support to think about growth or scale.
It’s a story Cash says is common among entrepreneurs of color in the United States who often don’t have access to much-needed business resources.
According to Cash, it’s rare to see minority-owned business grow larger than a mom-and-pop store. That’s certainly the case for black-owned businesses, where she says the average annual revenue is $65,000 to $70,000. Compare this to white-owned businesses, which on average generate $450,000 in annual revenue.
Jalia Ventures, a Social Venture Network (SVN) member, was founded to change this. The word Jalia means empowerment in Swahili. The company provides expansion capital for companies owned by entrepreneurs of color that have a social or sustainable mission inherent in the business model.
They also offer valuable technical assistance that includes the development of growth plans, connections to key advisers and networks, as well as operational and process support.
The company was co-founded by Josh Mailman, one of the original founders of SVN.
“Our goal is to bridge what we believe is an opportunity gap that exists because traditionally minority entrepreneurs in the U.S. have been left out of the for-profit social impact discussion and don’t have networks that connect them to capital sources,” says Cash.
“I think there is enough knowledge and intellect in the community to scale businesses so they are on par with what the average is for white communities.”
Since Cash started working with Powell, she says they’ve been able to provide him with investment capital and connect him to larger networks, including SVN where he recently sat on a panel discussing urban access to healthy food.
“He is now defining his business as an impact business whereas before he didn’t have the holistic view,” says Cash. “That was powerful and definitely confirmed there is a need for connecting these two worlds.”
To learn more about Jalia Ventures, click here.
This article written by Axiom News is part of a Social Venture Network series featuring the work of its next generation of socially-responsible business leaders.