A new program brings local capital and resources to under-represented founders

November 30, 2017 (Philadelphia, PA) – Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Ben Franklin) is partnering with DC-based Village Capital, and UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, to bring Village Capital Pathways to the Philadelphia region. Village Capital Pathways provides training for African American, Latinx, and women founders on what it takes for their ventures to be competitive for early-stage investment and engagement with strategic partners.

“Our goal has always been to find, train, and invest in entrepreneurs solving real-world problems. We build communities around entrepreneurs to improve opportunities for growth and success,” says Ebony Pope, Senior Manager of US Ventures at Village Capital, “Working with Ben Franklin earlier this year on the Fintech Accelerator program, run as part of VilCap Communities, provided insight into the incredible startup ecosystem in Philadelphia and how we can further support our mission in the region.”

The three-month long program seeks 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. The Venture Investment Readiness Awareness Level (VIRAL) curriculum will support the selected companies, teach them how to set and surpass milestones, and attract investors. Surpassed milestones will result in small grant incentive awards.

“We want to help position companies to obtain the capital they need most, while prioritizing those who represent Philadelphia’s diversity,” says Margaret Berger Bradley, Director of Investment Partnerships at Ben Franklin. “Being an ecosystem ally, acting as the main point of contact for each company and facilitating tailored engagements, will help us accelerate connections to angel investors and local entrepreneur support for the selected ventures. This program offers us one other way to finance impact-driven companies across the region and help develop their social networks, even before they may be ready for investment.”

“UBS is proud to partner with Village Capital and Ben Franklin Technology Partners on this local initiative,” said Ted Durkin, Managing Director of Wealth Management Americas – Pennsylvania Market at UBS. “VC Pathways’ mission of supporting early stage entrepreneurs is aligned with UBS’s commitment to inclusive entrepreneurship. Together, our goal is to help encourage local entrepreneurial talent to start and grow their companies in Philadelphia, ultimately creating jobs and bolstering our city’s economic landscape.”

In addition to mentorship coordinated by Ben Franklin, cohort members will receive Amazon Web Services for two years of AWS credits (up to $5000), will automatically qualify for a 10,000 interest-free Kiva Zip Loan, a Hubspot for Startups 90% scholarship on all paid HubSpot software for 12 months, and network building opportunities and support from UBS executives.

Interested founders can apply for the program by visiting: www.vilcap.com/programs/vcpathways. Applications are due December 22, 2017. Selected ventures will be notified on January 10, 2018.

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About Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Ben Franklin is the most active early stage capital provider for the region’s technology sectors. Ben Franklin combines best practices of venture capital with a public-spirited purpose: leading the region’s technology community to new heights, creating jobs and changing lives for the better. Ben Franklin is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority. www.sep.benfranklin.org