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Investing in Small, Diverse Businesses Is Good for the Economy

BII in the Media
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The U.S. Department of State’s platform for sharing compelling stories and images about America featured BII CEO Betty Francisco and BII portfolio company ChopValue Boston in a story about enabling entrepreneurs who are people of color and women to access the finance they need to succeed:

Boston Impact Initiative chief executive officer Betty Francisco says financing entrepreneurs who are women and people of color is essential to building the national and international economy.

“As a Latina and Asian person by background, I often saw the barriers that our small, minority-owned businesses have in terms of raising capital, having access to resources or the networks needed to grow your business,” she says. “I had grown my own network and I wanted to use it for good.”

Over the past year, Boston Impact Initiative’s fund created 1,415 jobs — 80% of which went to people of color, according to their annual report. Of the 50 businesses the fund supports, 67% of the entrepreneurs identify as people of color and 38% are women.

The fund supports small businesses, which can mean single business owners or companies with as many as 300 employees, Francisco says.

One business, ChopValue Boston, is a slightly larger small business — a national chain with an office in Massachusetts. The Boston company, started in the state by Elaine Chow, takes used chopsticks and turns them into furniture and decorations.