EIG OZ Webinar Series | Opportunity Zones Strategies that Support Early-Stage Businesses
Categories:Analysis | Published On: May 16, 2022 |
On April 26, the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) hosted a webinar to discuss Opportunity Zones (OZ) efforts—capacity building initiatives, investments strategies, and proposed policy changes—to support the growth of early-stage companies. View a recording of the webinar and EIG’s key takeaways for more information.
After introductory remarks, EIG’s Catherine Lyons provided an overview of the recently introduced Opportunity Zones Transparency, Extension, and Improvement Act. Lyons focused on select provisions included in the bill, such as the creation of a $1 billion State and Community Dynamism Fund and the authorization of fund-of-funds investment structures. Aces & Archers’ Rachel Reilly noted that both of these proposals hold the potential to scale OZ investment activity in operating businesses, and then welcomed guest speakers from gener8tor to share insights from their experience working with early-stage companies eligible for OZ investment.
Vanessa Huerta provided an overview of gener8tor’s gBETA accelerator model, which was recently applied to the Opportunity Zone Capital Accelerator (OZCA) in Colorado. gener8tor was selected by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade to provide local small businesses that are pursuing OZ investment with individualized coaching and access to a national network of mentors, customers, corporate partners and investors. Huerta shared insights on how OZCA is meeting the needs of entrepreneurs in Colorado, and noted that this business accelerator model can be easily adopted by private companies, economic development stakeholders, local governments, and others interested in boosting investment in early-stage companies.
Troy Vosseller of gener8tor posited that OZ investment activity in operating businesses may increase if more communities offered similar business accelerators, and that funding those programs would be a good use of the proposed State and Community Dynamism Fund. Vosseller then explained how the proposal to authorize fund-of-funds investment structures would allow for more efficient deployment of small-dollar equity investments. If OZ fund managers were able to utilize a fund-of-funds structure, the OZ marketplace may likely see an uptick in growth capital for operating businesses.