i-DealFlow, a national coalition of businesses and organizations, announced a plan to increase and facilitate new venture capital investment in minority-led companies by bringing them face-to-face with venture capitalists.
The i-DealFlow venture fair will showcase dozens of minority-led businesses from high-growth industries such as technology, e-commerce, telecommunications and life sciences. The companies, which are seeking from one to 10 million dollars in equity funding, will each make presentations to leading venture capitalists and angel investors. The initiative will also include an entrepreneur "bootcamp," during which participants can strengthen their business plans and hone their presentations. The bootcamp will be hosted by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce during its 22nd annual convention to be held in Atlanta from September 19-22.
Spearheaded by AOL Time Warner and its division, Turner Broadcasting System, the initiative also has as partners Coca-Cola, the Wall Street Project, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Telecommunications Development Fund, the Four Times Foundation, and the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce.
Bob Pittman, Co-Chief Operating Officer of AOL Time Warner, made the announcement today in remarks at the opening session of the Wall Street Project Conference, which was launched in 1997 to challenge corporate America to invest in minority vendors and consumers. Joining Pittman at today's announcement were Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Founder and President, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; Elizabeth Lisboa-Farrow, Chair and George Herrera, President/CEO, US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Hon. Percy Sutton, Chairman Emeritus, Inner City Broadcasting.
Pittman said: "At no other time in history have we had a better chance to extend economic opportunity to every sector of society. We have a real responsibility -- which we take seriously -- to ensure that those who were left out of the old economy are given real opportunities for participation in the new economy. Since access to capital is often the only thing standing in the way of minority-owned businesses achieving success, this initiative is an important new step."
George Herrera, President and CEO, US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said: "It is my privilege to announce the launch of i-DealFlow - an exciting new initiative to give minority-led firms faster, easier and more direct access to equity markets. We expect i-DealFlow to serve as a template for future events like it, providing opportunity and educational resources for equity financing."
The goal of i-DealFlow is to create for minority firms a process that will significantly enhance their exposure and access to the mainstream venture capital community. Companies headquartered in the Southeast Region of the United States will be given priority as presenters at i-DealFlow, but highly qualified companies from other areas of the country will also be considered. i-DealFlow also will serve as an ongoing educational resource for the minority community, providing insight and information on equity financing.
For more information at http://www.i-dealflow.org.