Social movements for equal opportunities and minority inclusion have gained the spotlight with General Mills’ venture capital arm, 301 Inc, investing US$15 million in Fearless Fund for women-of-color (WOC) and Latina and WOC-powered Supply Change Capital.
The investment falls under General Mills, “advancing racial equity” ambition for promoting racial and gender representation via economic opportunities for minorities and women entrepreneurs within the food industry.
Additionally, the investment is expected to scale equity to ensure equal access to food.
Social impact and financial returns
Fearless Fund invests in “pre-seed, seed-level or series A financing” seeking WOC-led businesses. It aims at reducing the gap between capital-seeking ventures and at achieving scalable growth.
“Access to capital is one of the most prominent hurdles to women of color reaching their potential as founders, despite having an excellent track record in building successful businesses based on great ideas,” says Arian Simone, general partner and co-founder at Fearless Fund.
Supply Change Capital, a women and Latina-powered venture firm, invests at the intersection of food, culture and technology. The firm catalyzes early-stage food and food tech founders, focusing on sustainability, health and diversity.
“Food and food systems are at the heart of our culture and economy,” says Noramay Cadena, co-founder and managing partner at Supply Change Capital.
“As the multicultural consumer population in the US grows, we are focused on unlocking change in the venture ecosystem to infuse women and people of color with the capital they need to shape our future food landscape.”
With General Mills’ Disruptive Growth organization in June 2021, it previously invested approximately 80% of 301 Inc investment capital in minority-led or female-led food businesses. Examples include Grub Market, Pet Plate and Everything Legendary.
“We experience firsthand the expertise and passion of the diverse female founders within our 301 Inc portfolio. Yet there is a systemic gap for minority food entrepreneurs looking for early-stage venture capital funding,” says Doug Martin, chief brand and disruptive growth officer at General Mills.
“We’re excited to join forces with these amazing partners to uncover and accelerate more founders at earlier stages.
Martin continues: “Closing this gap means more great innovation in our food system – from new concepts to emerging food technologies – and more inclusive cycles of opportunity for entrepreneurs, companies and communities.”
Edited by Venya Patel
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