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Diversity is a longstanding issue in the entrepreneurship and startup worlds, especially when it comes to funded businesses.
For example, a study by business data site Crunchbase found only 2.4% of venture funds invested in U.S. companies between 2015 and August 2020 went to Black or Latino founders. That means they are seriously underrepresented since 13.4% of Americans are Black and 18.5% are Hispanic or Latino, according to U.S. Census data.
Still, many organizations across Central Florida are dedicated to offering underrepresented business owners help with accessing capital, building a business plan, learning new skills and more. These resources are not just for racial or ethnic minorities; groups in Orlando are serving women, LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. Here’s more.
Capital
Ascendus: The New York-based organization offers loans between $500-$250,000 to low- and moderate-income business owners. Ascendus operates an office at Fashion Square Mall in Orlando.
Seedfunders Opportunity Fund: Seedfunders — a network of independent early-stage capital groups in Orlando, St. Petersburg and Miami — in 2020 launched the Opportunity Fund to invest in majority Black-owned startups headquartered in Florida. 
Other resources
Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council: The council certifies and registers minority-owned businesses so they are eligible and visible to corporate and government buyers. The statewide group operates two offices in Orlando.
National Entrepreneur Center: The small business development center works in tandem with organizations like the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando and others to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need.
National Black MBA Association, Inc. of Central Florida: The chapter’s leadership development programs aim to create economic and intellectual wealth that improves the financial standings of Black businesses. The chapter represents business in the I-4 corridor, stretching from Daytona Beach to Orlando to Lakeland.
Prospera: The nonprofit offers consulting services, seminars, assistance accessing capital and more for Hispanic entrepreneurs. Prospera, which spans Florida and parts of the Southeast, is headquartered in Orlando. 
Upcoming Event
Wednesday, February 23
Geoffrey Keith CEO Seedfunders Opportunity Fund
Virtual Event (Free)
In celebration of Black History month, The Seedfunders Opportunity Fund which was created to empower the Black entrepreneurial community in Florida. Through ‘friends and family’ stage investments and mentoring, Seedfunders will do a small part to fill the gap created by decades of systemic racism. The convertible note investments will help new technology companies create a minimum viable product.
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