EDA to discuss $10M Black and Latino Seed Fund tonight

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority will partner with Newark-based nonprofit digitalundivided on an Instagram Live event at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss various ways the state is attempting to help underserved communities.

Among the topics will be Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed Black and Latino Seed Fund, which will focus on driving capital to Black- and Latino-owned enterprises. Murphy has proposed a $10 million Fiscal Year 2022 budget allocation to create the fund.

The event is entitled, “Removing Barriers for Diverse Entrepreneurs.”

The goal, as EDA CEO Tim Sullivan often has said, is to increase access to capital for minority-owned businesses.

The subject of the talk certainly is relevant — and crucial.

Nationwide, the innovation economy is facing a diversity crisis. According to Crunchbase, American companies raised a record-setting $150 billion in venture capital funding in 2020, but less than 1% of this went to Black-owned companies.

The numbers are even worse for women. According to digitalundivided’s ProjectDiane, Black and Latino women received just 0.64% of total venture capital investment between 2018 and 2019.