Portfolio Partner Profile
Greenline Ventures Small Business Capital Fund I
In December 2016 Greenline Ventures LLC launched a $20 million Small Business Capital Fund I (SBCF) to provide attractive loans at favorable or better-than market-rates to underserved small businesses in distressed census tracts throughout the U.S. The SBCF leverages New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) with the mission-driven capital to provide small businesses with financing that is flexible and patient as it relates to collateral, security requirements, amortization, recourse, covenants and interest rates/fees. The SBCF offers loans for a variety of purposes – from working capital and business growth/expansion capital to equipment financing and business acquisition. Loan amounts range between $250K to $2 million and terms range from 12 months up to 7 years. The goal of the SBCF is to benefit economically struggling communities and low-wage workers. Objectives include job creation and retention, worker training, improving employee benefits, boosting minority or women owned businesses, reducing environmental impacts and assisting low-income workers. Since its launch in late 2016 the SBCF has made loans totaling $11.35 million. Calvert Impact Capital is serving as the administrative agent for this deal.
Featured Impact Story
Discover Books (“Discover”) is a re‐seller of used books through online retailers. Discover’s mission is to divert books from landfills, help fund library sustainability, and provide solutions to the global problem of illiteracy. The company works to protect the environment by collecting, re‐selling and re‐distributing. The company has distribution centers in Ohio, California and Indiana with its headquarters residing in Maryland. The SBCF loan is being spent primarily in Toledo, Ohio and Hammond, Indiana to improve the profitability of these distribution center locations. A portion of the financing is also being used as working capital to increase efficiency with its proprietary automatic collection and sorting software program, to purchase inventory and continue to build out the business’s website by increasing direct sale efforts. Proceeds from the SBCF will provide the working capital needed to facilitate the growth needed to support the various locations and 260 existing employees. Following the financing a total of 112 new jobs were created (43% women, 34% minority employees). The SBCF loan also enabled Discover to continue its charitable partnership with the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank, a nonprofit whose mission is to foster improved literacy and a love of reading by providing free books to children in need.
Voormi is a high‐performance, natural fiber based active apparel brand located in Pagosa Springs, CO, a mountain town of less than 2,000 people. Their craft apparel materials are 100% domestically sourced, manufactured and finished garments are sewn in micro‐factories in rural communities. With a focus on quality and innovation, they source their merino wool from Rocky Mountain ranches and apply proprietary technology to its products enabling by sewing synthetic fibers directly into the wool. Their goal is to create sustainable products that are built to endure hard conditions, are durable, support the local community, and deliver its goods without the need of thousands of gallons of oil and gas to get there. They also strive to transform rural communities into small manufacturing hubs providing economic development where it is needed most. The borrower utilized the SBCF’s loan proceeds to provide the business with working capital to increase inventory, product lines, marketing, purchase equipment and to position themselves for future licensing opportunities. As a result of the financing Voormi projects they will create 3 new positions in the local community. All jobs will include benefits and do not require a 4‐year degree. In addition, Voormi will provide training to low‐income workers for high paying “technical seamstress” jobs.
Think Broccoli organizes social impact campaigns and events to help mobilize and educate impacted communities. As an organization they are committed to building thriving urban communities while bringing awareness to leading a more healthy and sustainable life. Their signature event is Broccoli City Festival, which gathers over 75,000 people in the spirit of Earth Day, community health, and economic development.
Think Broccoli is 100% African American owned and committed to many social impact objectives and environmentally sustainable outcomes. Their mission is to build thriving, resilient communities by improving and highlighting environmental justice, economic sustainability, culture, food access and education in underserved communities. Their Broccoli City festival, which is one of the few African American‐owned events of its kind, has moved to a larger space, welcomed larger crowds, opened up more vending opportunities to African American business owners and showcased emerging artists. BroccoliCon is their immersive two‐day conference of the brightest minds from diverse disciplines and backgrounds focused on emerging technology, culture, entrepreneurship, and social movements. The BC 5K run is a celebration of fitness and physical health for all ages and levels. Between the festival, conference, 5K run, and community service day Think Broccoli projects to create 376 temporary jobs (event planners, food services/trucks, merchant small businesses, local production vendors, security & crowd management, bartenders/servicers etc.).
The borrower utilized the SBCF’s loan proceeds for working capital and to improve capacity to produce more income generating opportunities that fit the mission of the Broccoli City Festival. The loan proceeds support the company in executing its festivals, conferences, volunteer opportunities and other community events.