NEW YORK, Aug. 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Siebert Williams Shank & Co LLC (SWS), the nation’s premier woman-owned and minority-owned investment bank, announced today the formation of the Clear Vision Impact Fund, LLC, with an initial $25 million seed investment from Microsoft Corporation.
The fund, with a target size of $250 million, will invest growth and operating capital in small and medium-sized businesses, with an emphasis on minority-owned businesses, to maximize social impact.
The objective of the partnership between Microsoft and SWS is to mitigate the deficits in capital access that minority-owned businesses often encounter, and thereby enhance the positive impact that these companies have on the communities in which they operate.
“We are extremely pleased to have Microsoft’s critical support in delivering the commercial and social resources necessary to strengthen underperforming communities,” said Chris Williams, Chairman of SWS. “Our role in helping to implement Microsoft’s vision of community support, is a recognition of the vital role that small businesses play in their communities, particularly during this period of widespread economic distress.
“This is the beginning of a long-term commitment by Microsoft and by our firm to continue to address the decades of under-investment in communities of color and the persistently limited access to capital for entrepreneurs in those communities,” said Suzanne Shank, President and CEO of SWS. “We are thrilled that Microsoft has recognized the value of this endeavor and we are confident others will follow.”
“We’re pleased to continue our 10-year relationship with Siebert Williams Shank to partner together to create new opportunities and expand access to capital for minority-owned small businesses,” said Tahreem Kampton, Assistant Treasurer and CIO at Microsoft. “There is much work to do to reduce the technology gaps that exist in our ecosystem today. This is just the first step to building a more diverse and equitable playing field and we look forward to the opportunities that this investment will help create.”
The fund expects to deliver value beyond providing capital solutions to financial sponsors and entrepreneurs, by leveraging both SWS’s national network of relationships and its visibility and reputation within the minority business community.