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Meet the VC Fund Helping Startups in Underserved Communities Grow A venture fund invests serious cash on startups in underserved communities.

By Michelle Goodman

This story appears in the June 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Cody Pickens
Keba Konte of Red Bay Coffee.

In recent months, community leaders from New York, Baltimore, Detroit and Washington, D.C., have come to Oakland, Calif., to ask: How can we launch something like the local-business-building program ICA Fund Good Jobs? The program helps new companies create jobs in underserved communities, and does so in many ways -- with workshops, an invite-only accelerator, venture funding of $250,000 to $1 million and relationships with community banks and local organizations that pitch in as well. Since launching in 2013, Fund Good Jobs has invested more than $2 million in five startups, unlocked $6 million more in outside capital and created more than 100 local jobs. Here's how one of those businesses grew, using the right tools at the right times.


Oakland-based Keba Konte is accepted into an ICA 10-week business class. At the time, he owns and manages Guerilla Café, an organic coffee shop in Berkeley, but he dreams of building his own small-batch coffee roaster business and a chain of cafés.

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