Invest Detroit, in partnership with consulting firm Urge Imprint and funding from The Kresge Foundation, has launched Ebiara, a new $11 million fund designed to help emerging minority-owned development companies by providing early-stage capital and assistance to expand their impact on Detroit’s economy.
“Ebiara exists to help combat the challenges that minority developers face growing their business — from accessing capital to securing talent and resources,” says Roderick Hardamon, CEO and chief strategist for Urge Imprint.
“Ebiara wants to be a partner for real estate development firms who want to scale their impact in Detroit. While the ecosystem has evolved to lower the barrier of entry into real estate development, more work is needed to crack the code on scalability.”
Emerging Detroit developers, especially minorities, struggle to access capital to create scalable real estate development firms, resulting in developers seeking out project financing. The Ebiara fund seeks to address that gap by helping black and brown owned development firms improve operating capacity, build a transaction pipeline, and secure the best talent available.
“Ebiara is an extension of Invest Detroit’s commitment to ensuring equitable opportunity in the growth of Detroit’s economy,” says Keona Cowan, executive vice president of lending at Invest Detroit. “It helps to leverage other existing Invest Detroit programs and neighborhood efforts while also creating growth pathways for development firms committed to and representative of Detroit.”
With significant philanthropic support from the Kresge Foundation, the fund relies primarily on a low-cost alternative to equity to act as early stage capital for the developer, as well as offering coaching and technical assistance to help navigate city processes and ensure completion, and access to assets.
In its first two-year pilot phase, Ebiara intends to work with approximately 10 developers and support $100M – $200M in new development activity.
“The status quo of limited access to capital is unacceptable,” says Tosha Tabron, a social investment officer at The Kresge Foundation. “It significantly reduces these developers’ ability to accumulate wealth, and it impedes their efforts to move Detroit neighborhoods forward.”
Donald Rencher, group executive for planning of housing and development for the city of Detroit, says: “This fund will go a long way toward creating more opportunity for developers of color in our city. I thank Invest Detroit, URGE Imprint, and the Kresge Foundation for their commitment to improving equity and addressing underrepresentation in Detroit’s growth and revitalization efforts.”