UBS and Village Capital Launch VC Pathways Program for Minority Female Entrepreneurs Seeking Early-Stage Funding

UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, and Village Capital, an organization that finds, trains and invests in entrepreneurs solving real-world problems, today announced the launch of the VC Pathways program. VC Pathways is a national program that will train and support African American, Latin and female founders to increase their competitiveness for seed-stage venture investment and early-stage incubator and accelerator programs.

UBS and Village Capital will launch the VC Pathways program in Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlanta, each of which were identified for their potential to support early-stage ventures. Key to the implementation of the program are the local entrepreneur support organizations partnered with VC Pathways in each city, which include Philadelphia-based Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Atlanta-based Goodie Nation and Chicago-based I’m Black In Tech and Blue 1647.

VC Pathways will work with these partners to select a cohort of founders in each city to participate in a three-month program that provides entrepreneurs with hands-on training, advice and tailored engagements from mentors, investors, UBS executives and Financial Advisors who will help their companies become investment-ready.

“VC Pathways is an invaluable extension of UBS’s ongoing commitment to advancing inclusive entrepreneurship,” says Jamie Sears, UBS Head of Community Affairs, Americas. “Many of our clients are entrepreneurs in these cities, so we are excited to be playing a part in strengthening the pipeline of diverse founders and giving startups access to investors, best-in-class training, and other resources that will help their businesses succeed.”

“There is no shortage of potential among underrepresented founders. They have firsthand experience in solving critical issues faced by the majority of the US population,” says Allie Burns, Managing Director of Village Capital. “What’s lacking is the social capital and tangible resources to scale these solutions. We’re hoping that, through this program, startups will gain exposure to the thought-process behind investment decisions and a framework to use milestones to clearly communicate their growth and success.”

Defining and meeting business milestones is an important indicator of success for high-growth startups. Having a roadmap to demonstrate these to investors is critical to helping founders move away from over-reliance on “friends and family” funding and focus instead on other early-stage investors. To assist with this, each local VC Pathways program will provide:

  • Guidance through Village Capital’s VIRAL curriculum. Every entrepreneur in a VC Pathways program will receive training on the Venture Investment Readiness Awareness Level (VIRAL) curriculum, which helps entrepreneurs set and surpass specific milestones to make them competitive when raising capital.
  • Connections to angel investors. The VC Pathways program will facilitate formal and informal interactions between startups and angel investors and provide access to a Startup Heat Map, which identifies monetary and in-kind resources at every funding level.
  • Tangible business support. The program will also provide resources for building a business, including Amazon Web Services (up to $5,000 in credits), access to a Kiva Zip Loan worth up to $10,000, up to $2,000 in grant funding awarded for hitting certain program milestones and network-building opportunities.

Participants in the three-month program will be primarily high-growth businesses that are tech-enabled, pre-seed or seed stage ventures, with an established minimum viable product and have less than $500,000 in revenue or raised funds. Priority will be given to startups solving problems within Village Capital’s five investment areas: Education, Healthcare, Financial Technology, Agriculture and Energy.

For more information about the VC Pathways offering and key local program dates, visit: https://vilcap.com/program/vcpathways/. To learn more about UBS’s additional inclusive entrepreneurship programs through the UBS Elevating Entrepreneurs initiative, visit: https://www.ubs.com/microsites/elevating-entrepreneurs/en/home.html

Howard University Unveils New Bloomberg Finance Lab

Howard University School of Business (HUSB) recently unveiled its new Bloomberg Finance Lab in front of a standing-room only crowd of students, faculty and alumni. The lab, made possible through a generous $250,000 gift from alumnus Wendell E. Mackey, CFA, will be used to prepare students to excel in finance-related fields.

“We are extremely appreciative of Mr. Mackey’s donation to the Howard University School of Business, which not only supports the Bloomberg Finance Lab, but also student scholarships,” said President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick. “In this full circle moment, we get to witness a student who once benefited from a quality Howard education, return to give back so that the next generation of students can experience the same.”

Mackey fondly recalls taking photos in front of the then newly constructed School of Business on the day of his graduation ceremony in 1986. It was in that moment that he vowed to one day give back to his alma mater. Today, Mackey is a Founder, Co-Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Investment Officer for Channing Capital Management, LLC in Chicago.

“I am honored to present this gift to Howard University on behalf of myself and Channing Capital Management. I also want to thank my great business partners Rodney Herenton and Eric McKissack for their support along our journey together,” said Mackey. “The skills that the students will achieve with the added benefit of utilizing a Bloomberg Finance Lab will be invaluable to their careers.”

The Bloomberg Terminal is a software platform that provides real-time and historical data, market moving news and analytics to help leading business and financial professionals worldwide make better informed investment decisions. The service also features execution platforms for every asset class, research and a global network to communicate securely and reliably. Howard University has contracted to have 12 Terminals with two Terminals earmarked for economics and computer science students.

“We are thrilled to partner with Howard University and offer its students and professors access to the same market-moving news and data relied on by leading business and financial professionals around the globe,” said Erika Irish Brown, Bloomberg’s Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion. “We hope that Bloomberg Finance Lab’s training and coursework will give Howard students seeking careers in financial services an additional competitive edge, while also familiarizing Howard’s computer science students with the technology underlying the Bloomberg Terminal.”

“The Bloomberg Lab will greatly enhance the academic skills of our undergraduate and graduate students in finance, accounting, marketing, supply chain and management, and enhance their professional marketability,” said Barron Harvey, Ph.D., dean of the Howard University School of Business. “In addition, the lab will greatly impact the research productivity of our dedicated faculty in the School of Business.”

As part of the gift to the University, a portion will be used to establish the Wendell E. Mackey/Channing Capital Management, LLC Scholarship, which will sponsor four student scholarships over the next two years for School of Business students. During the ceremony, the two scholarships were presented to Christopher Austin, a junior finance major from Chicago, and Taylor Stephens, a freshman finance major from Atlanta.

“I very much appreciate this scholarship award for the simple fact that someone wants to help me advance my education,” said Austin. “There is no better feeling than knowing that others believe in my future and want to help me along the way toward pursing my goals and dreams.”