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    Five businesses selected to receive first investments through The Columbus Foundation’s Equitable Small Business Fund

    Columbus, OH (December 12, 2022)—The Columbus Foundation today announced
    that it has awarded a total of $2.6 million in Program Related Investments (PRIs) to five
    Black-owned and Black-led businesses serving the central Ohio region. The five
    businesses—Aventi Enterprises LLC, Embedded Services, The Mezzanine Fund,
    Our Hospitality Group LLC, and Prospera Advisory Group
    —are the first to receive
    funding through The Columbus Foundation’s Equitable Small Business Fund.

    Launched in May 2022, the Equitable Small Business Fund is an effort to help close the
    racial wealth gap in the region by increasing access to capital and services for
    entrepreneurs of color—in particular, Black-owned and Black-led businesses. The
    Equitable Small Business Fund leverages PRIs that catalyze the flow of patient and
    flexible capital to support businesses owned by people of color and advance mission-
    aligned organizations and leaders building the small business community. A PRI could
    be made in the form of many different financing vehicles; in this case, all five
    investments are below-market loans.

    “Small business owners need access to capital to grow their businesses. Yet
    historically, entrepreneurs of color have faced systemic barriers when trying to secure
    capital, and they continue to face many of the same barriers today,” said Douglas F.
    Kridler, President and CEO of The Columbus Foundation. “The investments made by
    the Equitable Small Business Fund provide Black-owned and Black-led businesses

    access to opportunity, helping to chip away at existing inequities and build a vibrant,
    diverse small business ecosystem in our community.”

    The Equitable Small Business Fund is part of The Columbus Foundation’s ongoing
    commitment to racial equity. In 2020, The Columbus Foundation committed $5 million
    for PRIs through the Fund. PRIs are used by foundations to invest in solutions to
    strengthen the community, with the potential to recycle those dollars for new

    The Columbus Foundation has assembled a committee consisting of small business
    champions to oversee evaluation and decision-making for investments. Committee
    members include Sandra Moody Gresham, Dehan Enterprises LLC; Anthony Joseph,
    White Castle System, Inc.; Timmy McCarthy, The Business of Good Foundation; Doug
    McCollough, City of Dublin and Color Coded Labs; and Elizabeth Blount McCormick,
    Uniglobe Travel Designers.

    “Through their entrepreneurial spirit, ingenuity, and expertise, those selected to receive
    PRIs from the Equitable Small Business Fund have demonstrated a strong commitment
    to building a more inclusive and equitable small business environment in central Ohio,”
    said committee member Blount McCormick.

    The Columbus Foundation partnered with Next Street—a national firm that mobilizes
    capital, customers, and capabilities for small businesses and entrepreneurs that have
    been systemically held back—to develop and implement the small business PRI
    strategy. Next Street previously worked with the City of Columbus to help develop the
    Columbus Small Business Agenda in partnership with regional stakeholders. The
    Columbus Foundation’s work builds upon these previous efforts.

    More information on the Equitable Small Business Fund, including details about how
    entities can apply for funding, can be found here. Applications are currently being
    accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

    Equitable Small Business Fund investees:

    Aventi Enterprises LLC offers full-service support to small businesses in central Ohio,
    including business strategy consulting, business planning training, and identifying
    capital sources and contract opportunities. Through the Aventi Loan Fund, Aventi
    Enterprises will distribute small loans for women- and minority-owned businesses in
    Columbus to help them accelerate their growth. Led by Deonna Barnett, CEO &
    Managing Consultant, Aventi Enterprises’ involvement in various Columbus initiatives,
    such as the City of Columbus’ Small Business Agenda, and partnerships with key
    players demonstrate how proximate the company is to the needs and gaps in the

    Embedded Services, led by Co-Founders and Managing Partners Kumi D. Walker and
    Shereen Agrawal, is a go-to market and business strategy practice focused on building
    a more diverse future in technology. Leveraging experience earned in Silicon Valley,
    Embedded Services, based in Columbus, aims to enable early and late stage
    technology businesses to achieve sustainable growth through partnerships.

    The Mezzanine Fund supports diverse-owned businesses by funding a growth path to
    the lower middle market, which The Mezzanine Fund defines as businesses with
    between $10 million and $100 million in revenue. The company aims to transform
    traditional financing systems to foster an eco-system of larger diverse-owned
    businesses. The Mezzanine Fund, led by Managing Director Anne Richie, is committed
    to reflecting diversity at all levels, including its managers, service providers, and the
    majority of its loan approval committee. Although based in Cleveland, The Mezzanine
    Fund will intentionally focus on Franklin County to capture growth opportunities and
    offset the number of single-employer firms.

    Our Hospitality Group LLC is a restaurant group that opened Marvin’s, a Black-owned
    restaurant, in Columbus’ Brewery District in July 2022. Co-owned by Charles Daniels,

    Mario Hairston, and Marlon Platt, Marvin’s will contribute to the revitalization of the
    Brewery District. The management and ownership of Our Hospitality Group is well-
    connected with the Columbus community, and demonstrates clear vision, experience in
    the industry, and a track record of success.

    Prospera Advisory Group makes direct, real estate-backed loans to small business
    owners and real estate investors who do not qualify for conventional financing. To date,
    92 percent of its investments have focused on under-resourced ZIP codes in Franklin
    County. Led by Managing Partners Ralph Abbott and Richard Adiansingh, Prospera
    Advisory Group fills a unique role in the entrepreneurial support ecosystem, providing
    “patient capital” in the $100,000 to $500,000 range to businesses and organizations
    with $2 million or less in revenue and with credit score issues.

    About The Columbus Foundation
    The Columbus Foundation, one of the top 10 community foundations in the United
    States, serves more than 3,000 individuals, families, and businesses that have created
    unique funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through the
    most effective philanthropy possible.