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Mill Cities Community Investments Launches New Business Equity Investment Fund

New MCCI fund aims to level the playing field for underserved small business owners

Former Banner Editor and Publisher Melvin B. Miller with new owners Ron Mitchell (left) and Andre Stark (right) at the Banner’s Dorchester office. Photo Source: Erint Images

Mill Cities Community Investments (MCCI) Launches New Black-led

Business Equity Investment Fund

New MCCI fund aims to level the playing field for underserved small business owners


LAWRENCE, MA, May 5, 2023 –With a mission to grow the assets and wealth of historically disinvested individuals and their communities, Mill Cities Community Investments (MCCI) is proud to announce the launch of its Business Equity Investment Fund, which supports business owners with patient, longer-term financing capital. MCCI, Massachusetts’ first Black-led community development financing institution (CDFI), works closely with clients and community leaders to develop innovative ways to deliver loans, investments, and financial services. Through the Fund, MCCI purchases company stock to support the long-term growth and development of a business as an equity investment.


Equity investment is a critical driving force of growth for businesses, but minority and women entrepreneurs have historically been locked out of this finance resource. According to Crunchbase, less than 2.4% of the total U.S. venture capital funding went to Black- or Latino-led startups. By trading company stocks, entrepreneurs get cash to hire, grow, innovate, and do much more. Unlike loans, equity does not require immediate repayment, so business owners can reinvest cash right back into their business.


“Our commitment in launching the Business Equity Investment Fund is to ensure that our entrepreneurs have fair access to diverse financial resources so that they can thrive, create opportunity, generate wealth, and drive broader economic growth across the state,” shared Anthony Rust, MCCI Business Equity Finance Ecosystem director and manager for the Fund.


MCCI closed its first Business Equity Investment Fund deal with Black-led Mitchell-Stark Enterprises (MSE) for the acquisition of the Bay State Banner, the longest running Black-owned newspaper in New England, which had been published by Melvin B. Miller since 1965 until MSE’s acquisition. "We are very happy that MCCI chose us to be the first participant of this new fund. This helped us secure the funding necessary to take advantage of a great opportunity to purchase and develop this historic community resource," said Ronald D. Mitchell, MSE president and CEO. "The support was vital, not only by providing capital through the purchase of our company stock but also with their (MCCI’s) strategic council and guidance during our company's development. MCCI’s Business Equity Investment Fund is a one-of-a-kind game changer and will help develop many more minority and women owned businesses throughout Massachusetts.”


Alongside MCCI, the Boston Foundation has been a significant partner in supporting the Fund by providing critical source capital. “For communities of color, flexible financing and patient capital are essential tools for overcoming systemic challenges and allowing businesses of color to succeed,” said Orlando Watkins, Boston Foundation’s vice president and chief program officer. “It is imperative that we identify and leverage new avenues beyond traditional philanthropy to build economic opportunities for these valued businesses.”


“MCCI is striving to create solutions to address the capital gaps that lead to persistent undercapitalization of businesses owned by people of color and women. The wealth gap continues to be a root problem in accessing capital, separating people of color from whites who simply have more access to equity,” shared Malia Lazu, The Lazu Group CEO and founder, and MCCI board chair.


To learn more about the MCCI Business Equity Investment Fund, visit https://www.mccinvest.org/business-equity-investment-fund


About Mill Cities Community Investments (MCCI): Founded in 2008 by Latino leaders to bridge the capital access gap in low-to-moderate income and under-resourced communities, MCCI is headquartered in Lawrence, MA and serves populations statewide and across the Merrimack Valley. MCCI is a community development financial institution (CDFI.) As a financing and lending alternative for businesses and homeowners, MCCI specializes in identifying and providing innovative solutions for capital needs and being flexible with their underwriting process.


In 2022, the Foundation for Business Equity (FBE), an award-winning Boston-based organization working to scale businesses of color, merged with MCCI, a significant step in expanding opportunities for accessing growth capital and advancing capacity to create stronger economic mobility in our target communities. To learn more about MCCI, visit https://mccinvest.org/. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.


Media contact: Diana Ubiñas Mill Cities Community Investments diana.ubinas@mccinvest.org 978-252-2615

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