Experiential Learning Through Venture Capital

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There is some truth to the familiar adage “It takes money to make money.” For women and underrepresented minority entrepreneurs and founders, who typically receive less than 3% of the capital investments made in the U.S., limited access to startup funding can significantly hinder the progress of their innovative business ventures and unique product development.

Students at the Roberto C. Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School are addressing this inequity through the Peachtree Minority Venture Fund, the only student-run venture fund that directs its equity investments exclusively to Black, Latinx, and Native American-founded businesses.

Organized as a course through the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and designated as part of the diversity, equity, and inclusion concentration for full-time MBA students, Peachtree bridges the divide between investigating the factors that inhibit venture funding for underrepresented minority groups and developing potential solutions to address those funding challenges.

Divided into teams, students are assigned to research minority-owned startups in one of six areas: consumer products and goods, energy, fintech, health care technology, information technology, and manufacturing.

Once a potential business is identified, each team completes the same due diligence process as a traditional venture capital firm, and makes their resulting recom-mendation to the Peachtree Investment Committee, a group of Goizueta faculty, staff, and alumni.

Peachtree, which announced its inaugural funding choices in 2022, is possible because of initial $1 million in funding from the Goizueta Business School endowment. Through an “evergreen” investment structure, it recycles any profits earned for reinvestment through the program.