UBS partners with global venture capital firm,  Village Capital, to announce the launch of the VC Pathways program on Jan. 12th, an initiative that will train and support a selected group of entrepreneurs to help increase their investment in their companies.

According to a press release from UBS, the VC Pathways program was created to assist and support young African-American, Latinx and female entrepreneurs “increase their investment in their companies.” The program will launch in the high-growth company cities of Philadelphia, Chicago, and Atlanta, in partnership with local organizations Ben Franklin Technology Partners, I’m Black In Tech and Blue 1647, and Goodie Nation respectively, said to be the most likely to support early-stage ventures. The hope is to help underrepresented entrepreneurs and companies with high-growth potential to become investment ready and support diverse start-ups.

“VC Pathways is an invaluable extension of UBS’s ongoing commitment to advancing inclusive entrepreneurship,” say Jamie Sears, Head of Community Affairs, Americas, “Many of our clients are entrepreneurs in these cities, so we are excited to be playing a part in strengthening the pipeline of diverse founders and giving startups access to investors, best-in-class training, and other resources that with help their businesses succeed.”

The VC Pathways initiative will operate as a three-month program that will provide hands-on training, advice, and mentorship from investors and UBS executives and Financial Advisors who will help their companies become investment-ready. Each local VC Pathways program will provide:

  • Guidance through Village Capital’s VIRAL curriculum: By encouraging friendly competition among entrepreneurs, the Venture Investment Readiness Awareness Level (VIRAL) curriculum will set specific milestones that will be required of them to surpass when raising capital.
  • Connections to angel investors: The VC Pathways program will facilitate formal and informal interactions between startups and angel investors and access to a Startup Heat Map that provides monetary resources for funding at every level.
  • Tangible business support: The program will provide business-building resources, including two years worth of Amazon Web Services credits ($5000), $10,000 worth of interest-free Kiva Zip Loans, and  $2000 in grant funding for completing VIRAL program milestones, and networking opportunities.

“There is no shortage of potential among underrepresented founders. They have firsthand experience in solving critical issues faced by the majority of the US population,” says Allie Burns, Managing Director of Village Capital. “What’s lacking is the social capital and tangible resources to scale these solutions. We’re hoping that, through this program, startups will gain exposure to the thought-process behind investment decisions and a framework to use milestones to clearly communicate their growth and success.”

The program gave priority to companies in the agriculture, energy, fintech, and health industries, sectors that Village Capital invest in and requires that each start-up is tech-enabled with less than $500,000 in revenue to date or in raised funding.