ANN ARBOR – Michigan Venture Capital Association announced Monday the launch of its 2018 Venture Fellows Program to build initiatives to assist venture capital firms in fostering a more diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial and Investment community in Michigan.
Launched in 2011, the program has increased the number of venture professionals in Michigan to accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital in the state.
To identify policy and program needs for Michigan’s growing entrepreneurial and investment community, MVCA examines trends pertaining to investment and entrepreneurship and publishes its findings within the MVCA Annual Research Report. As part of its report since 2014, MVCA includes studies related to the presence and roles of women, individuals identifying as LGBTQ+, and racial minorities within this community. According to MVCA’s most recent report, in 2016:
- Michigan venture capitalists invested $222 million in 54 Michigan startup companies. Of that, $16.9 million was invested in four Michigan startup companies led by a CEO belonging to one or more underrepresented groups.
- 14 percent of venture capital professionals in Michigan were female.
- 7 percent of venture capital professionals were racial minorities.
“While Michigan meets or exceeds the national average of diversity within the entrepreneurial and investment community, the state has the opportunity to set a benchmark for the industry that more clearly reflects representative populations,” said MVCA Associate Director, Emily Heintz. “An ongoing focus on building an inclusive community is essential to ensuring Michigan attracts and retains the best talent. Our goal is to set the standard for venture capital associations across the country and create a model that will foster a more diverse and inclusive culture across the entire venture capital industry.”
The Venture Fellows Program aims to attract and retain investment professionals in Michigan by matching emerging talent with local venture capital firms. To date, MVCA, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, has awarded over a million dollars to 19 venture capital professionals across Michigan to build their careers in Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community. Venture Fellows are hired by Michigan-based venture firms to accelerate the fundraising and deployment of capital into early-stage companies.
The 2018 Venture Fellows Program will require candidates to have a track record of actively contributing to building a diverse and inclusive community, a commitment to diversity initiatives, and will incorporate training on diversity and inclusion as part of MVCAcademy (a required one-day training for Venture Fellows). In addition, venture firms who participate in the program will be required to submit a statement regarding their firm’s commitment to building an inclusive entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan.
“Participating in the Venture Fellows Program helped open the door to opportunities that were critical to advancing my career in venture capital,” said Reda Jaber, Gemphire Therapeutics Director of Business Development and Partner at IncWell. “With this program, we have the opportunity to help build leaders and advocates who will shape the future of the venture capital industry in Michigan.”
For more information, visit www.MichiganVCA.org.