Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) has chosen BII as the 2023 recipient of the Lewis Latimer Award, which will be presented at the AIM 2023 Annual Meeting on May 4 at the Seaport Hotel Boston.
BII is being recognized for not only tackling a critical finance gap, but also doing pioneering work in its field, demonstrating how integrated capital – patient equity, loans tailored to companies’ needs, and support in accessing grants and contract opportunities, combined with social and political capital – can be transformative.
“The 3,400 member companies of AIM honor the Boston Impact Initiative for demonstrating that the best remedy for persistent poverty and injustice is to create opportunities for people to own and control their future,” said John R. Regan, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM.
Regan also celebrated AIM’s strategic partnership with BII, launched last summer, which has brought dozens of BII portfolio companies into the organization: “We are pleased to have these innovative and impactful entrepreneurs as part of AIM, and to contribute to their success by providing them with human resources and management expertise and networking opportunities.”
The AIM Latimer Award is presented annually to a Massachusetts innovator, organization or business leader who has broken barriers to innovate and create economic opportunity. It is named for Lewis Latimer, a Chelsea-born Black inventor who in 1882 patented a method for the production of carbon filaments critical to the development of the electric light bulb. A child of formerly enslaved people, Latimer also created the drawings that enabled Alexander Graham Bell to patent the telephone.
“We are honored to receive an award that celebrates Black ingenuity and enterprise,” said Betty Francisco, Chief Executive Officer of BII. “Through our integrated capital investments, we are proud to be supporting a new generation of visionaries, innovators, problem-solvers and activists of color, helping them overcome systemic barriers to close the wealth divide and catalyze power in their communities.”
BII is the third recipient of the Lewis Latimer Award; the first two were the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund, and Massport for its “Massport Model” development of the Omni Boston hotel.
AIM is a community of Massachusetts employers committed to the idea that business can create a better, more prosperous world through the power of positive change. Its objective is to create public policy that allows employers to create jobs and economic opportunity.