ISO: Minority Angel Investors

This is a repost that was originally shared on the Chicago Urban League’s Linkedin page. I typically keep my work at CUL separate from this blog, but I am too excited about this event coming up to do that.

Join the the Chicago Urban League for the Angel Resource Institute’s (ARI) Angel Investor Overview workshop on Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

African-American-owned businesses continue to woefully underperform small businesses in general. Blacks make up roughly 32 percent of the total population in Chicago, but own just 15 percent of the businesses.

What’s worse, those Black-owned businesses generate just over 0.5 percent of all revenue averaging annual receipts of about $55,000, compared to roughly $149,000 for all firms and just 3 percent of them have paid employees compared to 21 percent of all firms.

These disparities aren’t just problematic for the business owners themselves. They have farther reaching impacts on the African American community and the city overall because these business owners aren’t building wealth or creating jobs … both of which would lead to higher tax revenues for and additional investment in the city of Chicago.

While the reasons for these disparities are many, one of the largest barriers to success for African-American entrepreneurs continues to be a lack of access to capital. While regulations such as the Community Reinvestment Act and microlenders like ACCION Chicago, the Women’s Business Development Center, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, and many others do what they can to help minority entrepreneurs access debt capital, equity capital is still exceedingly difficult to come by for founders of color.

Less than 1 percent of venture capital and angel funding in the U.S. goes to companies run by Black founders. Investors of color are more likely to invest in entrepreneurs of color than are their White, male counterparts; however, only 4.5 percent of angel investors and fewer than 4 percent of venture capitalists are Black or Latino.

Since most high net worth investors rely on informal networks and personal recommendations to choose which entrepreneurs to meet with, African-American founders often don’t have access to investors because of the uneven, exclusionary playing field. Additionally, most investors prefer to invest in industries and products that they understand and can relate to. Thus, a business that caters to an “ethnic” demographic is less likely to be funded by a White investor because s/he cannot “understand the market and add value to the business.”

Increasing the number of angel investors of color will help increase the flow of equity capital into African-American owned businesses. 

Therefore, while part of the issue of equity capital access for minority entrepreneurs is certainly a supply side issue – there are too few Black founders with viable business models pursuing equity capital – it is also an issue of a lack of minority investors.

So how do we grow the ranks of angel investors of color so that we can increase access to equity capital for minority entrepreneurs? One way is to give high net worth individuals the tools, information, and access they need to become successful angels. As one step in this direction, the Chicago Urban League’s Entrepreneurship Center has partnered with the Angel Resource Institute to offer angel investor training with the goal of increasing the number of active, minority angel investors in the Chicagoland area.

The Angel Investing Overview (AIO) is the leading seminar for educating angel investors, entrepreneurs, and startup support professionals about how to execute the angel investment process. For nearly 10 years, the AIO has been the educational seminar of choice for growing, strengthening, and developing the skill sets of early-stage deal participants throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Angel Investing Overview will teach you the fundamentals of angel investing in an interactive format that includes presentations, distinguished panel discussions and case studies. The seminar is taught by ARI’s renowned faculty of certified lead instructors. Each lead instructor has at least 10 years of experience in angel investing, leading early-stage companies, and managing angel investment groups.

Angel Investing Overview covers:

  • Introduction to Angel Investing
  • Is Angel Investing Right for You?
  • Portfolio Strategy
  • Due Diligence
  • Structuring the Deal
  • Valuation Methodologies
  • Post-Investment Relationship

The AIO is designed to educate all members of the early-stage space. This workshop will address the unique needs and interests of angels, entrepreneurs, startup professionals.

  • Angel investors that understand how to execute and manage the process of early-stage equity investing are in a better position to lower risk and increase returns. Angel groups that apply the skills taught in this seminar can improve their investment process, create improved deal flow and raise the odds of realizing successful exits.
  • Entrepreneurs who understand how investors operate and what they expect will have a huge advantage in solidifying a successful deal. They will also be better prepared for attracting and pitching to investors.
  • Startup support professionals can increase the value of their services to clients and constituencies when they can more effectively advise them on how to execute the angel investment process. The more knowledge you can transfer the better positioned for success your clients will be.

Join the Chicago Urban League on May 25th as Angel Investor expert Bob Okabe facilitates a special Angel Investor Training. Panelists include Aaron Gillum, Managing Director at Caerus Investment Partners; Mohit Bathija, angel investor and the Founder/CEO of a soon-to-be launching company in the advertising technology space; Sharon R. McDade, entrepreneurial investor and co-founding member of the Hyde Park Angels, one of the largest and most active angel investment groups in the Midwest; Darrell A. Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Loop CapitalJay Sebben, Entrepreneur & Investor, CEO L Street Collaborative; Jimmy Odom, Senior Policy Advisor at Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; and legal experts from  Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP.

Register today at

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