In episode 49 of the Investing in Impact podcast, I speak with Princess Aghayere & John Gough of ICA Fund, on working to close the gender and racial wealth gap in the Bay Area through investing in local entrepreneurs.
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What is the ICA Fund?
ICA Fund is a nonprofit organization that works to close the gender and racial wealth gap in the Bay Area by providing coaching, connections, and capital to entrepreneurs who have been overlooked by mainstream funders.
Through investment and mentorship initiatives, they help systemically underrepresented Bay Area entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
They also provide access to funding opportunities such as grants and loans, which otherwise may not be available to those from marginalized communities. The goal is to create a local economy that works for all.
They are also committed to building an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Bay Area. ICA helps business owners increase their knowledge about how to start a business, develop resources needed for success, establish networks with other entrepreneurs, secure financing options that meet their needs, and position themselves for growth.
The ICA Impact Note: helping great business grow shared wealth
The new ICA Impact Note is an innovative investment structure that helps entrepreneurs prioritize social impacts–like good job creation, workforce diversity, and profit distribution–as they grow their business.
Many founders set out to leverage their business to create change in their community, but those aims can be chipped away while growing and fundraising in a competitive landscape.
When a company receives investment through the ICA Impact Note, the business must define the measurable social impact they want to create and the trade-offs they’ll need to make in order to achieve them.
The note is designed so that as impact milestones are met, the investor returns ownership percentages back to the company.
Through this structure, the investor and the company are able to work in real partnership to scale social returns for the community by growing a profitable business.
The design of this note builds off of ICA’s 10 years of experience deploying capital for community-minded growth-stage businesses and is free to use by other investors working to prioritize social impact.
Princess is an Investment Analyst at ICA and contributes to sourcing new investment prospects and conducting investment due diligence. She works cross-functionally across ICA, communicating portfolio company needs and identifying areas of growth.
Princess has experience working in a minority-owned private equity fund called IMB Partners and co-founded a non-profit called Rebound Liberia. The nonprofit empowers young women through basketball and leadership development. Following the launch of Rebound Liberia, Princess had a short stint playing professionally in Spain in the LF2 league.
Princess graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s in Health and Societies and a minor in International Development. Outside of work, she loves traveling and is an avid basketball fan.
She believes entrepreneurship is one of the most effective ways to promote economic growth and development. She hopes to facilitate ICA’s mission of advising and providing capital for high potential businesses to address the gender and racial wealth gap.
John serves as Chief Investment Officer at ICA, a venture-capital CDFI and 501(c)(3) non-profit investment fund, focused on creating good jobs, funding women and entrepreneurs of color, and driving economic opportunity and ownership for employees.
John leads the organization’s Investment team, and oversees the development, funding, and implementation of the ICA Growth Fund and Seed Equity Fund.
John has over 20 years’ experience in corporate finance, international banking, impact investing, and has held executive leadership and operating roles in entrepreneurial ventures.
John believes that supportive and patient capital can be used to reach, serve, and bring meaningful change to communities.
Prior to ICA, John founded True North Capital Management LLC, an investment management business focused on public equities impact and essential services investing.
John also served as Head of Global Corporate Banking in Asia-Pacific for Wells Fargo, living with his family in Hong Kong for 9 years; Managing Director at LoopNet Inc (NASDAQ: “LOOP”), a venture capital start-up; Farallon Capital in San Francisco; and Grameen Bank, a micro-credit lender in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
John serves as a Board observer for Firebrand Artisan Breads, and Advisor to NowHer.org focused on Philippines social impact and micro-enterprise investment/development.
John holds an MBA from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business (Haas School Scholar), and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis (Magna Cum Laude).
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