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News calendar    Jun 02, 2021

Render Capital Announces First Dollar Program

Render Capital announces the First Dollar program, a regional initiative supporting Black and Brown entrepreneurs by providing critical funding for their startups. Learn more about this empowering community effort!

The Render Capital First Dollar program is a regional strategy that will help support and invest in Black and Brown entrepreneurs in the area, providing them with critical “first dollars” to help their startups thrive. 

Oftentimes, when an individual has an idea for a new business, they turn to their savings, family or friends to help turn the idea into reality. However, Black households have a median net worth of just $12,920, less than one-tenth of the median net worth of white American households. Studies show that both Black and Brown entrepreneurs are substantially less likely to have the financial capital available in their social networks to fund the creation of new businesses, and the opportunity for wealth creation is stifled as a result. 

“Oftentimes, Black and Brown entrepreneurs lack capital access due to historic and systemic inequality,”
– Vanessa Koenigsmark, Render Capital

The First Dollar program is launching in collaboration with local entrepreneurial support organization Amplify Louisville, and will provide $5,000 grants to 20 local businesses at the earliest stage of business development, for a total investment of $100,000 in the local community. Grant recipients will be for-profit organizations, located in Jefferson County, Kentucky or Clark and Floyd County, Indiana, who are seeking their first significant capital contribution. To determine which local startups will be funded, Render Capital has partnered with four local, Black-led organizations – Louisville Urban League, Russell: A Place of Promise, GEDDI, and Change Today, Change Tomorrow. Through this partnership, Render Capital is empowering those who work closely with Black and Brown entrepreneurs to facilitate the disbursement of grant funds. As part of the First Dollar program, the four partnering organizations have until the end of 2021 to fund five startups each of their choosing.

“We’re proud to partner with Render Capital for this grant program and look forward to seeing the strong impact this funding will have on Black and Brown entrepreneurs,” said Cynthia Brown, Managing Director of Black Business Initiatives, Louisville Urban League. “Early investment in these entrepreneurs and their businesses will have a lasting impact in the community.”

The First Dollar program is a collaborative community effort, and various stakeholders are needed to ensure success in the future. Organizations interested in playing a role in The First Dollar program should email To learn more about the program, visit

We envision a robust and thriving regional economy where entrepreneurs see the Midwest and South as a place they can find appropriate risk capital necessary for them to start and grow.

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