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XXcelerate Fund Launches in Oregon to Address "Crisis in Access to Capital" for Women-Owned Businesses

December 02, 2019, 09:00 AM
Filed Under: Industry News
Related: Funds

A group of local women entrepreneurs, investors, and lenders in Portland has created the XXcelerate Fund to build profitable Oregon-based businesses. The fund will address the critical and entrenched capital shortfall facing women entrepreneurs.

It is designed as a local, evergreen resource for women and will use capacity-building funding from the Portland Development Commission. XXcelerate Fund creators conducted an initial survey of women business founders in Portland and discovered an overwhelming need for this kind of program. Key among the findings are that 40 percent of founders identify as underrepresented/people of color, most have been denied traditional funding sources, and yet nearly all have been through an incubator, accelerator, or previous business training.

“There is a crisis in access to capital and entrepreneurial support for women in the state of Oregon and nationwide,” said Robin Klemm, PH.D., Board Member and Executive Director, XXcelerate Fund. “And this gap is happening at a time when we see continuing proof points of the effectiveness of women business leaders.”

"In conversations with women entrepreneurs in Oregon, I have heard clearly how Oregon cannot achieve its fullest potential to increase high-skill, high-wage jobs without extending equal opportunities to capital for women entrepreneurs," said Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. "Despite women entrepreneurs running 30 percent of small businesses, they get less than five percent of the total value of all conventional business loans. Tapping Oregonians’ creativity and grit to come together and find solutions is exactly the type of thinking we need today and every day.”

The fund has three goals, each aligned with the founders’ vision and needs. Each recipient will be supported in reaching one or more of these goals:

  • Traditional Bank Financing
  • Venture Capital
  • Profitability and Financial Independence

A 2016 study by Oppenheimer Funds found that women start new businesses at twice the rate of men.

Additionally, First Round Capital analyzed a decade's worth of data from 300 of its portfolio companies and learned that startup teams with at least one female founder performed 63 percent better than all male teams.

“We are proud to support this innovative, grassroots funding solution created by some of Portland’s most dynamic women founders to provide a new path forward for female entrepreneurs,” said Kimberly Branam, Executive Director, Portland Development Commission.

The XXcelerate Fund is seeking two types of capital: loan funds and grants through government entities, foundations, commercial investment, and individuals. Capital will be fully deployed within five years.

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