Milestone Growth Fund works to promote entrepreneurship in communities of color by providing access to capital and management assistance to growing small businesses.
Since 1990, Milestone has invested $26.7 million in 78 companies. These companies contribute significantly to the local economy. During the past decade, Milestone’s portfolio clients have generated over $1 billion in gross receipts, paid $39 million in taxes, and employed an average of 550 employees per year. In a market where persons of color are up to four times as likely to be unemployed, over 50% of these companies’ workers come from communities of color.
Minority-owned businesses continue to grow in number in Minnesota and across the country. At the time of the Census’ most recent Survey of Business Owners (2007), entrepreneurs of color owned 32,000 businesses in Minnesota. This number is expected to increase significantly as persons of color now comprise the majority of population growth in the state.
Historically, 35% of Milestone’s investments have been made in companies owned by immigrants and 23% have been in women-owned companies. The ethnic breakdown of the portfolio since inception is: 45% African American, 17% Asian American, 29% Latino, and 9% Native American.
Entrepreneurs of color continue to be an underserved market by traditional financial service providers. Most have difficulty attracting capital from family and friends and at the national level only about 2% of equity funding is provided to minorities even though minorities currently make up more than one-third of the U.S. population.
Successful minority businesses have the potential to generate jobs, create wealth, and contribute to improving the community for all of us. A Milestone investment is the “drop” that initiates a “ripple effect” in communities of color. We aim to have all of our portfolio companies and entrepreneurs become inspirational role models who encourage others to pursue the American Dream of small business ownership.