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        Helping Minority-Owned Business Thrive Where They Are


        HELPING AND SUPPORTING MINORITY-OWNED BUSINESSES secure the tools and   According to Cornell University researcher Courtney McCluney, Black women have
        access networks they need to succeed is no longer a pipe dream for Detroit-area   recently been the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs nationally, despite having
        entrepreneurs— it’s an action item.                                disproportionate access to resources like capital.

        Through a $1.8 million investment in Lightship Capital from Delta Dental of   “The overall mission is to empower, educate, fund, and scale some great companies in
        Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana and its subsidiary, The 4100 Group, underrepresented   this ecosystem,” said Candice Brackeen, general partner at Lightship Capital. “When
        and underestimated business owners will soon have access to secure funding,   founders have access to these resources, their chances of scaling and making a real
        mentoring, and technical support to get their dreams up and running.  economic impact in the region increase exponentially. And when local businesses win,
                                                                           the community at large wins, too.”
        It’s a timely and urgent investment as minority small business owners often
        face roadblocks, inequitable access, and social constraints that rob them of the   “Detroit is set to bring in the programming since the city already boasts a vibrant tech
        opportunities to build and lead thriving, robust businesses.       and entrepreneur ecosystem,” said Brackeen. “Programs offering underrepresented
                                                                                               entrepreneurs access to mentorship, networks and
        Lightship Capital is a Cincinnati-based venture capital                                organized guidance around scaling their businesses are
        fund focused on funding and educating underrepresented                                 likely to have a profound economic impact in Detroit.”
        entrepreneurs, including women, people of color and
        those who identify as LGBTQ+ or disabled.                                              Projects on the horizon include ventures such as pop-up
                                                                                               restaurants and retail to mobile dental care.
        Delta Dental and the 4100 Group entered the $1.8 million partnership with
        Lightship Capital to provide these entrepreneurs with equitable access to the tools,   Lightship Capital not only invests in startups but also offers two entrepreneurial
        training, capital, and a network of potential partners to build wealth.   education programs—Hillman, an accelerator, and NewME Bootcamp.

        It’s a conversation the companies have been engaged in since the start of 2020.   Hillman is a growth-focused, entrepreneur education program serving
                                                                           underrepresented, tech-driven startups through mentorship, specialized curriculum,
        “We knew right from the start this partnership would allow more investors and   partnerships, and capital investments.
        consumers to see these founders’ full potential, help underserved communities
        overcome social injustice and inequity and ultimately allow our regions to thrive   The NewME Bootcamp is a one-week retreat for a cohort of 10 founders building
        with local talent and ideas,” said Margaret  Trimer, vice president of strategic   companies in a variety of industries, including tech and health. They live together,
        partnerships at Delta Dental.                                      share meals, and have their business strategies critiqued and constructed to help them
                                                                           reach the next level. n

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