The financial sector can play a greater role in helping build inclusive and equitable communities – by providing people with access to the capital and opportunities they deserve. Opening up these doors is fundamental for local leaders and entrepreneurs to contribute not only to their communities, but to our shared economy.
In a first-of-its-kind merger, Capital Impact Partners, CDC Small Business Finance, and Ventures Lending Technologies are coming together as Momentus Capital to create the transformational change needed in the financial sector to achieve this vision.
For too long, many people – especially people of color – have been overlooked, ignored, or systematically excluded from the current system. Residents from all walks of life deserve to have equitable access to the things that contribute to their health and wealth: a vibrant local economy with good jobs; high-quality social services; and a voice in what happens in their community.
“Small business owners, developers, and other local leaders are the engines of job creation and economic activity in communities across the country. When these leaders have the opportunity to succeed, their communities, their residents – and our country – thrive,” said Ellis Carr, president and CEO of Momentus Capital. “We need bold thinking and a holistic approach to unleash solutions for underestimated communities. Momentus Capital was created to meet that challenge.”
Each organization under the Momentus Capital brand will continue operating as a separate entity committed to serving its key market and clients, albeit with additional resources and product offerings.
By unifying as Momentus Capital with one shared vision and mission, these leading, mission-driven financial organizations can achieve even more than they could working as separate entities.
To achieve that shared vision and mission, Momentus Capital is uniquely positioned to provide entrepreneurs and local leaders at every stage of their growth with a continuum of capital and opportunities under one roof. These key resources that address the challenges of – and support the solutions for – underestimated communities include:
- Financial capital: a range of flexible debt and equity products to meet Momentus Capital’s partners’ needs, as well as access to new markets and potential investors
- Knowledge capital: business advising, assistance, and training to develop the skills and insights that can help partners advance their enterprises
- Social capital: connections to networks and people that can help Momentus Capital’s partners succeed
Momentus Capital further amplifies this approach through technology solutions – including the industry-leading Ventures+ loan software – that assist its partners in making a greater impact in their communities.
Investments and Innovations
Momentus Capital is the culmination of a vision that Mr. Carr and Kurt Chilcott, the longtime leader of CDC Small Business Finance, began to develop in 2019. These leaders sought a way that both organizations, impactful in their own right, could accelerate their work. Mr. Carr, the president and CEO of Capital Impact since 2016, was named the CEO of CDC Small Business Finance in 2021, while Mr. Chilcott transitioned to a role as chair of both organizations’ boards. Under their leadership, Momentus Capital will continue to innovate how capital and investments flow into communities.
“In the midst of developing the strategy for Momentus Capital, we witnessed the toll from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing racial reckoning,” said Mr. Chilcott. “While challenging, those two years strengthened our resolve as we witnessed how these experiences specifically impacted communities of color and fueled the growing racial wealth gap.”
Momentus Capital combines its national presence with a local, place-based approach. It works with local leaders — including small business owners, social entrepreneurs, community-minded developers, policy-makers, and builders of community facilities – to identify issues and drive solutions.
This approach is supported by the organization’s lending and investment activities: over $700 million annually deployed to support small business owners, developers, and other community leaders. That, in turn, builds on more than $23 billion of investments that the Momentus Capital family of companies already made to support community solutions throughout their histories.
To support these community solutions, Momentus Capital is:
- Rethinking its credit parameters, and developing new lending and investing products to create more equitable access to capital for borrowers and projects who have traditionally been denied.
- Enhancing its lending with programs that solve for systemic issues through training, mentorship, and network building.
- Deploying technology solutions for community-focused partners and lenders to amplify their work.
- Working alongside partners in shaping national, regional, and local policy to address systemic inequities and expanding funding opportunities.
- Combining robust financial experience with community trust to attract mainstream dollars and deliver them to locally-led projects.
“We are constantly working to rethink outdated approaches that limit who has access to capital,” said Mr. Carr. “Where others see risk, we see the opportunity to demonstrate that communities deserve investment. As more capital flows into these communities, the residents benefit – as do we all.”
Among the recent programs and initiatives from the Momentus Capital family of companies:
- Activate Detroit, a new loan product that is empowering Black entrepreneurs by focusing on character-based evaluations, rather than credit scores.
- Impower, which helps business owners who have been denied for a commercial real estate loan, assisting them with the opportunity to build wealth, create jobs and stay in the communities they serve.
- The Equitable Development Initiative, Housing Equity Accelerator Fellowship, and Growing Diverse Housing Developers, all of which provide training, mentorship, connections, and pathways to financing for developers of color, helping them overcome racial barriers and systemic issues.
- Expanding access to Ventures+, a proprietary loan processing and portfolio management tool that has become one of the top resources for small business and community lenders. This has helped other local lenders create an impact in their communities by providing access to high-level services they would otherwise be unlikely to manage on their own.
- Launching an Impact Investing group to jumpstart growth-stage businesses that will impact their communities. Equity investments make up less than 2% of CDFI portfolios in the United States. This will fill a crucial gap for companies like this that need more than traditional debt products.
- Coming Soon! We are developing a first-of-its kind mission-driven investment bank to better connect investors with community organizations through community-centric securities offerings.
“Momentus Capital is dedicated to the idea that everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve the dreams they have for themselves, their communities, and for generations to come,” said Mr. Carr. “I’m encouraged about what we’ve been able to achieve leading up to this key milestone. But I’m even more excited about the opportunities that stand before us to make real change.”News Source: PR Newswire